DETROIT - Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian accused of attempting to blow up a Detroit-bound jetliner, will appear in federal court on Friday to hear the charges against him in an incident that has prompted a sweeping review of U.S. security policy.
Abdulmutallab was to be arraigned on six charges, including attempted murder and the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction to bring down a plane carrying 289 other people.
President Barack Obama in remarks on Thursday took ultimate responsibility for security failures that led to the attempted Christmas Day bombing of the U.S. airliner and ordered reforms aimed at thwarting future attacks
U.S. officials say Abdulmutallab tried to ignite explosives concealed in his clothing as a flight from Amsterdam prepared to land in Detroit, but was subdued by other passengers.
Linked to a Yemen-based branch of al Qaeda, Abdulmutallab has been held in a federal prison in Milan, Michigan.
If convicted of all six counts, he faces life in prison plus up to 90 years.
Neither federal prosecutors or Abdulmutallab's court-appointed defence lawyers would comment ahead of the Friday afternoon arraignment in Detroit.
The initial hearing could take only several minutes, setting the stage for a trial that legal experts said is weighted heavily in the government's favour given the evidence, including Adbulmutallab's injuries.
It happened in an enclosed environment, in the air, with many witnesses, said Larry Dubin, a law professor at the University of Detroit Mercy. Usually prosecutors are not as fortunate having those facts when bringing a case.
Officials were preparing to close off the snow-covered street approaching the federal building and limit the number of observers in court to fewer than 80 witnesses and reporters.
A Nigerian-American group and a coalition of Muslim Americans have announced plans to rally nearby in support of the U.S. government's position.
Everybody here is concerned about these unfortunate acts and these unfortunate events because they send the wrong message, said Nasser Muhsin, a member of the American Muslim Society in Dearborn, Michigan.
They put the wrong definition of Islam in people's minds, and that's what we are concerned about, said Muhsin, whose group planned to rally outside the federal court.
(Additional reporting by Don Pessin, writing by Kevin Krolicki, editing by Vicki Allen)