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THE NATION | RESPONSE TO TERROR

Shoe-Bomb Suspect's Speech Was Slurred, Witness Recalls

June 19, 2002|From Associated Press

BOSTON — An emergency medical technician testified Tuesday that Richard C. Reid had slurred speech and appeared sluggish as he was questioned by the FBI for allegedly trying to blow up a jetliner with explosives hidden in his shoes.

The testimony came during a hearing on Reid's request to suppress statements made after his arrest. Reid's lawyers claim he was still feeling the effects of Valium and sedatives that passengers forcibly injected into him while trying to restrain him.

Steven Solletti, an emergency medical technician, said that when he arrived at Boston's Logan International Airport, Reid's blood pressure was elevated and he appeared sleepy.

"His words, they appeared to be slurred, sluggish, kind of like he was intoxicated," Solletti said.

But two prosecution witnesses testified that Reid did not appear to be affected by sedatives during questioning, about eight hours after he was injected.

Reid, 28, a British citizen who, authorities allege, was trained in Afghanistan by the Al Qaeda terrorist group, is accused of trying to blow up American Airlines Flight 63 during its trip from Paris to Miami on Dec. 22. He has pleaded not guilty to eight charges, including attempted murder of the 197 passengers and crew members.

Reid's trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 4.

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