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Richard Reid pleads guilty

Faces minimum sentence of 60 years

Richard Reid told the judge he's a disciple of Osama bin Laden and an enemy of the United States.
Richard Reid told the judge he's a disciple of Osama bin Laden and an enemy of the United States.

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CNN's Bill Delaney reports a federal court judge accepted the guilty plea of Richard Reid, the man charged with trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight (October 4)
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• Defendant's motion: U.S. v. Reid external link
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BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- A federal court judge on Friday accepted the guilty plea of Richard Reid, the man charged with trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight last December with explosives in his shoe.

U.S. District Court Judge William Young also denied Reid's request that language saying he was trained by al Qaeda be removed from the indictment.

At a hearing Friday morning, Reid pleaded guilty to all eight counts against him -- including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, attempted homicide, and placing an explosive device on an aircraft.

"At the end of the day, I know I did the actions," Reid said.

"Basically I got on a plane with a bomb. Basically I tried to ignite it."

Speaking after the hearing, U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said, "Reid's cowardly acts were intended to kill innocent civilians in a fanatical assault on democracy in America. Today, Reid stands convicted of his crimes."

Reid called himself a disciple of Osama bin Laden and an enemy of the United States.

Reid filed a motion earlier in the week stating his intention to plead guilty. The move stunned prosecutors, who were expecting Reid to go to trial.

Reid's attorneys said he wanted to spare his family the difficulty of undergoing a lengthy trial.

In a statement Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said "Richard Reid, like any defendant, is free to plead guilty to criminal charges. The Justice Department has not entered into any plea agreement with Reid."

Justice Department officials said Ashcroft would talk with reporters Friday afternoon and Reid would be the subject.

At the hearing, Judge Young asked Reid whether he was satisfied with his attorneys. "I don't recognize your system," he replied. "How can I be satisfied with it?"

Reid's attorneys had asked that language linking Reid to al Qaeda be removed from the indictment. Young denied the request, saying Reid's al Qaeda training could be relevant in his sentencing.

Reid faces a minimum sentence of 60 years in prison. His maximum sentence would be life in prison. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 8, 2003.

Reid, 29, a British citizen and convert to Islam, was arrested for allegedly trying to light a fuse to set off explosives concealed in his sneakers while on American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami on December 22.

He was seen trying to light the inner tongue of his sneaker, from which a wire was protruding, and was subdued by flight attendants and passengers, who pinned him down. In the struggle he bit a flight attendant.

Two French doctors on board the flight injected three drugs into Reid, including an antihistamine and the sedatives Valium and Narcan in an effort to subdue him. The plane was diverted to Boston.

"A large part of the credit has to go to the heroic crew and passengers," FBI Special Agent Charles S. Prouty said Friday.

"What this points out is that if we are going to have continued success in fighting terrorism ... everyone, every citizen, has to be vigilant and has to be involved."


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