DETROIT (AP) — A Nigerian who pleaded guilty to trying to blow up a Detroit-bound plane began his path to terrorism with a text message from a top al-Qaida figure in Yemen, the U.S. government said Friday in a court filing that discloses new details about their relationship.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab faces life in prison at his sentencing next Thursday. Although the punishment is mandatory, prosecutors filed a memo urging the judge to also order the maximum penalty for seven other crimes, which range from 20 years to life in prison.
It has been known that Abdulmutallab traveled in 2009 to Yemen to volunteer for terrorism and find Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric and one of the best-known al-Qaida figures who was killed in a U.S. drone strike last year. But the government’s court filing offers more details, based on Abdulmutallab’s interviews with the FBI in 2010.