An expert witness for the federal government in the case against alleged “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has constructed a version of the bomb the Nigerian 24-year-old allegedly tried to set off on a plane en route to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.
Abdulmutallab’s trial, in which the son of a wealthy Nigerian banker plans to defend himself, gets underway this week.
Justice Department prosecutors filed a motion on Friday that said an explosives expert “will explain to the jury the components of the defendant’s bomb, why the bomb did not fully function as intended, and how the bomb would have exploded if it had fully functioned properly.”
“The model replicates the components of the bomb based on actual components that were recovered by law enforcement officers from the aircraft,” according to federal prosecutors. “The bomb consisted primarily of a syringe assembly (which was used to initiate the detonation of the booster charge), the [Triacetone Triperoxide] (which acted as the booster charge to detonate the main charge), and the [Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate] (which acted as the main charge).”
There’s no explicit mention of whether the model will include an actual pair of underwear.
Federal prosecutors will also introduce video recordings of three demonstrations conducted by the expert: one that shows the reaction of “potassium permanganate (a crystalized oxidizer) and ethylene glycol (a liquid fuel), in a syringe in a laboratory” and a second and third which show “the detonation of 76 grams and 200 grams of PETN” at full speed, 15 percent speed, and slow motion that were conducted in a grass field.
The Obama administration’s decision to handle Abdulmatallab’s case in civilian court has come under attack by conservatives.
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