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Thursday, 3 October, 2002, 05:33 GMT 06:33 UK
Shoe bomber suspect to plead guilty
Richard Reid
Reid is apparently keen to avoid the publicity of a trial
Lawyers for the alleged shoe bomber Richard Reid say he plans to plead guilty to all eight charges against him.

Mr Reid, a British citizen, is accused of attempting to blow up a transatlantic passenger jet carrying 197 people with explosives hidden in his shoes.

Lawyer Owen Walker said Mr Reid's decision was based on a desire to avoid the publicity of a trial and the stress it would cause his family.


The Justice Department stands by each and every allegation in the indictment

Attorney General John Ashcroft
US authorities stressed that no bargain had been struck with Mr Reid in return for a guilty plea.

"Richard Reid, like any defendant, is free to plead guilty to criminal charges," US Attorney General John Ashcroft said.

"The Justice Department has not entered into any plea agreement with Reid. The Justice Department stands by each and every allegation in the indictment," Mr Ashcroft added.

Conditions

Mr Walker said that his client "has no disagreement with the facts asserted in the charges about his actions on 22 December 2001."

Reid's shoes
Reid's shoes were packed with explosives

"He wants to avoid the publicity associated with a trial and the negative impact it is likely to have upon his family."

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation believes that Mr Reid, a convert to Islam, is connected to the al-Qaeda terror network led by Osama Bin Laden.

Mr Reid initially pleaded not guilty to charges of terrorism, attempted murder and attempting to destroy an aircraft.

But the BBC's Jane Standley in New York said Mr Reid appeared to be putting conditions on the new guilty plea by trying to change the language of some of the charges against him.

Application denied

Mr Reid said he would admit to all eight counts against him, but has asked the court to remove references from two of the charges alleging he received training from al-Qaeda.


We have firm evidence to support that he trained with al-Qaeda and we are prepared to offer that evidence at a plea hearing

US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Michael Sullivan

But the US has dismissed this possibility, casting doubt on whether Mr Reid's offer will be accepted.

The US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Michael Sullivan, said there was no question of the charges being changed.

"We have firm evidence to support that he trained with al-Qaeda and we are prepared to offer that evidence at a plea hearing," Mr Sullivan said.

Mr Reid made an earlier application to remove the same terminology, but lost the bid.

Accomplices

Mr Reid was overpowered by passengers and crew on the flight from Paris to Miami on 22 December when he allegedly attempted to light the fuse to trigger his bomb.

Investigators from the FBI say that Mr Reid was given help in making the bomb, citing evidence of a human hair and palm print found on the explosives.

Mr Reid has always insisted that he acted alone.

The FBI also said it searched Mr Reid's e-mail accounts and found one in which he described a duty to "remove the oppressive American forces from the Muslim land".

His trial was due to have started in November.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jane Standley
"Richard Reid has always insisted he acted alone"

Key stories

European probe

Background

IN DEPTH
See also:

28 Dec 01 | UK
20 Jun 02 | Europe
23 May 02 | Americas
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