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Lawyers for 'Shoe Bomber' Criticize Video

January 28, 2003|From Associated Press

BOSTON — Defense lawyers for a man who admitted trying to blow up a jetliner with explosives in his shoes criticized prosecutors Monday for leaking a video that purportedly shows how the bombs could have knocked the plane out of the sky.

Richard Reid, 29, a British citizen, was overpowered as he tried to light a fuse protruding from his shoe on Dec. 22, 2001. The American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami was diverted to Boston.

Reid pleaded guilty in October, pledging his support to Osama bin Laden and declaring his hatred for the United States. He is scheduled for sentencing Thursday in federal court.

In arguing for life in prison, prosecutors this month submitted the video as evidence of what could have happened if Reid's plan had succeeded. In the video, a wide-body jet is blown up, causing pieces of fuselage to blow wildly in all directions and shearing the plane in half.

Reid's lawyers said prosecutors were creating undue anxiety for a jittery flying public.

The lawyers also said the video is not accurate because it was not made specifically for Reid's case but was done three years earlier, in 1998, by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Prosecutors say the videotape demonstrates the difference between an explosion aboard a pressurized plane compared with a nonpressurized plane on the ground.

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