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With guilty plea, underwear bomber cuts short intriguing terror trial

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US District Judge Nancy Edmunds set sentencing for Jan. 12. Abdulmutallab faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Given the circumstances of his failed bombing attack and the fact that his alleged act of terrorism was witnessed by scores of fellow passengers on the plane, Abdulmutallab’s chances of an acquittal on the main charges were virtually nonexistent.

In addition, he confessed significant details of the plot – including contacts with Al Qaeda allies in Yemen – to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents shortly after the attack.

Judge Edmunds ruled before the trial that the jury would be permitted to hear testimony about his admissions.

The guilty plea means that none of Judge Edmunds’s pretrial rulings will be appealed and examined by a panel of judges.

In a significant pretrial decision, the judge found that FBI agents were “fully justified” in not giving Miranda warnings to Abdulmutallab during an initial 50-minute interrogation seeking actionable intelligence about whether other underwear bombers might be on their way to the US.

US Attorney General Eric Holder said the guilty plea was more evidence of his often-repeated assertion that the federal courts are well-suited to prosecute terrorism suspects.

“Contrary to what some have claimed, today’s plea removes any doubt that our courts are one of the most effective tools we have to fight terrorism and keep the American people safe,” he said in statement.

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