CNN BREAKING NEWS
Shoe Bomber Gets Life in Prison
Aired January 30, 2003 - 15:50 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to let you know that a U.S. federal judge has just sentenced Richard Reid to life in prison. You know him as the shoe bomber, who tried to blow up an American Airlines flight with explosives that he stashed in his shoes.
We have CNN Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena joining us now from Boston. She has just come out of the courtroom -- Kelli, what can you tell us?
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Heidi, I can tell you that it was just quite a scene inside that courtroom. Richard Reid battling as he was taken out of the courtroom, screaming something at the judge which, unfortunately, nobody in the courtroom could understand, but it sounded like, at the end, he said, Thank you for nothing.
The judge giving a very eloquent speech at the end, saying the U.S. is not afraid of terrorists and co-conspirators. The judge saying we are Americans, we have been through the fire before. Reid talked about himself as a soldier. The judge saying to him, you are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. And to call you a soldier would give you too much stature.
As all of this was going on, there were people who had been on that flight that Richard Reid admitted to trying to blow up, who were sitting there, members of the crew, passengers who were on that plane. Some of those crew members gave very emotional statements to the judge.
One woman describing how she struggled with Richard Reid trying to get the shoes away from him, trying to get the matches away from him, and how he bit her fiercely on her hand and how other passengers came to help her. All of those potential victims asking the judge for this very sentence. Life in prison, because they said he has changed their lives forever, the lives of their children and their families forever, and that people like this should not be allowed to do what he did again. So, very emotional just now in the courtroom -- Heidi.
COLLINS: I'm sure it was. Kelli, I do have one quick question for you. We know that the judge rejected sort of a last-ditch attempt by Reid's lawyers. They say they needed to get some government documents that could have helped clear him. What was that about?
ARENA: Well, there was one classified document that the defense lawyer said that they wanted -- they wanted, basically, for the judge to wait until that document was declassified. So basically they said, Look, why don't you sentence him to the mandatory 30 years -- there was one count that required a mandatory 30-year sentence, and then let's wait for that document to be declassified.
And the judge said, Well, no. I can't give an indeterminate sentence. I have read the classified document. You have seen the classified document. I do not believe that it has any bearing in this case. I reject that attempt, and let's go forward.
COLLINS: All right. CNN's justice correspondent, Kelli Arena, live from Boston. Thank you.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com