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Reid Pleads Guilty to Airline Bombing Attempt

BY Admin  October 4, 2002 at 12:35 PM EDT

Chief U.S. District Judge William Young questioned Reid on the stand today. Reid declared himself an “enemy” of the United States and swore his allegiance to Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born militant blamed by the United States for the Sept. 11 hijacked plane attacks on U.S. landmarks.

While Reid today said he didn’t “recognize [the U.S. justice] system,” he admitted committing the acts outlined in the indictment.

“Basically I got on the plane with a bomb. Basically I tried to ignite it. Basically, yeah intended to damage the plane,” Reid said on the stand, laughing.

When asked why he decided to plead guilty, the 29-year old defendant told the court, “Because I know what I’ve done… At the end of the day I know that I done the actions.”

Reid’s lawyer, Owen Walker, said the defendant wanted to avoid the publicity associated with a trial and the negative impact it would have likely had upon his family.

Reid pleaded not guilty in January. In a court filing, he explained that he would admit to all counts, but asked to have allegations that he received bomb-making training from the al-Qaida terror network removed from two of the charges. Federal prosecutors said they opposed that move and would move forward to a trial if Reid did not change his plea. The trial was due to begin Nov. 4.

Reid, a British citizen, faced a total of eight counts, including attempted murder and attempted use of “a weapon of mass destruction” for trying to blow up the airliner.

Prosecutors said they would seek a prison sentence of 60 years to life, as outlined by U.S. law.