by Kurt Haskell
I haven't posted anything regarding the underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (Umar) in awhile. It is not due to a lack of interest on my part. There simply hasn't been much new going on with the story. That changed today. I expect this story to heat up once again as the October 4th trial date approaches.
As always, if anyone needs a background regarding this case and my throery on it, feel free to read this blog from Christmas Day 2009 forward. Please remember that this is my wife's blog and many posts regarding our lives are commingled between underwear bomber postings. This is not exclusively an underwear bomber blog.
I received notice of this hearing last week. It was set for 11:00 A.M. today. Unfortunately for me, I had a trial on one of my cases set for 9:00 A.M. today. I didn't have enough notice to move my trial. I was hoping my trial would settle or get adjourned to this afternoon. Judge Keith was an hour late today for my 9:00 A.M. trial and had several other cases to complete first. By 10:00 A.M., I didn't think there was any chance I would make it to Umar's hearing. At 10:30 A.M. Judge Keith called the two attorneys into his chambers to discuss the case to see if there was a settlement. There wasn't, so I asked him for a one hour adjournment and he granted it (from 10:45 to 11:45). I asked my client to watch my briefcase and I ran 4 blocks to the federal courthouse. Lori was already there. The hearing lasted 45 minutes of which I got to watch approximately 30 minutes of. See below:
This hearing was scheduled for two reasons: 1) The prosecution asked to "define" the role of stand-by attorney Chambers to determine what he can and can't do and 2) Stand-by attorney Chambers request to delay the October 4 trial date due to the prosecution giving him new evidence only one month ago.
The prosecution argued its motion first and asked for ridiculous requests such as Chambers not being able to sit by or talk to Umar while court was in progress. Judge Edmunds appeared to think most of the requests were ridiculous. A couple of the requests she indicated that she would decide after taking the issue under advisement (Judge talk for thinking it over) and would give her decision at another hearing in approximately two weeks. She took these issues under advisement as between Umar and Chambers: 1) Who will do jury selection, 2) Who will do the opening statement, 3) Who will do the closing statement, and 4) Who will question the witnesses. Interestingly enough, Umar told Judge Edmunds that he and Chambers will each question some of the witnesses. Judge Edmunds told Umar that would probably not be acceptable. I wonder if Judge Edmunds forces Umar to question all of his witnesses, if that will scare him into using Chambers as his regular attorney? I can only hope. Judge Edmunds once again tried to get Umar to use an attorney. Umar once again refused and indicated that he has been making progress on his studying to become his own attorney.
The more interesting part of the hearing today centered around Chambers request to adjourn the October 4, 2011, trial date. As part of his argument, Chambers indicated that the prosecution dumped the "Most significant evidence" of the entire case on his office in June after holding it for 18 months. Chambers then went on to describe such evidence as follows:
1) A copy of Umar's passport (Apparently it took 18 months to create it)
2) A disk containing a chemical analysis of the composition of the bomb
3) Airport security video and audio
4) Four disks of DNA analysis
5)A Witness statement from a Dutch, non-law enforcement citizen, government profiler, who talked to Umar during "the time in question"
For those of you following my theory on this case, you can see the obvious tie ins between the evidence that was withheld for 1 1/2 years and what it likely shows. I am, however, very puzzled as to item 5. I am not sure what the shows, who it is, when it was, or how it's relevant. Chambers then requested all other hidden evidence to which the prosectuion indicated it would turn over to Judge Edmunds for her review within two weeks. AS IF IT WAS O.K. TO HIDE MORE EVIDENCE!!!!! Apparently, the further hidden evidence is classified as SECRET (top secret?) and requires judicial review even before it's released to the defense. If I was representing Umar, I would be beyond livid over this conduct by the prosecution. What kind of evidence in this case could be so highly classified? I wonder if it has something to do with providing a "terrorist" an intentionally defective bomb and escorting him around security without a passport?
The hearing ended with Judge Edmunds denying Chambers request to delay the trial. Jury selection will start October 4, 2011.
*Note that some of the above information was provided by Lori as I had to return to my trial before this hearing concluded.