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Accused 'shoe bomber' intends to plead guilty

Prosecutors: 'There was no deal'

Richard Reid

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• Defendant's motion: U.S. v. Reid external link
• Government's response:U.S. v. Reid external link
• New indictment: U.S. v. Reid  (FindLaw documents, PDF format)external link

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Richard Reid, charged with trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight last December with explosives in his shoes, intends to plead guilty to all eight charges against him, his attorneys said Wednesday.

They said their client decided to switch his plea to spare his family the negative publicity of a trial, which would have started November 4.

But according to the motion filed by Reid's lawyers, that before their client offers his guilty plea he wants language saying he was trained by al Qaeda removed from two of the counts.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said the Justice Department had not entered into any plea agreement with Reid.

"Richard Reid, like any defendant, is free to plead guilty to criminal charges," Ashcroft said in a statement.

"The Justice Department stands by each and every allegation in the indictment. We are prepared to substantiate all of the charges at the hearing," he said.

U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan filed a motion opposing Reid's request and told reporters Wednesday that "we're not striking that language."

Sullivan said Reid decided to change his plea on his own. "I want to make it clear that there was no deal or bargain of any kind with Richard Reid that has led him to this decision," Sullivan said.

Reid faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for his crime. Sullivan said even if the judge imposed the minimum sentence for the charges, Reid would still be sentenced to 390 years in prison.

Reid's attorneys, Owen Walker and Tamar Birkhead, said their client "has no disagreement with the facts asserted in the charges as to his actions on December 22, 2001, and wants to avoid the publicity associated with a trial and the negative impact it is likely to have on his family."

U.S. District Court Judge William Young scheduled a hearing on the motion for Friday at 9 a.m.

Reid, 29, a British citizen and convert to Islam, was arrested for allegedly trying to light a fuse to set off explosives concealed in his sneakers while on American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami last December 22.

U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan talks about Reid's intention Wednesday.
U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan talks about Reid's intention Wednesday.

Reid was seen trying to light the inner tongue of his sneaker from which a wire was protruding. He was subdued by flight attendants and passengers, who pinned him down. In the struggle he bit a flight attendant.

Two French doctors on board the flight injected three drugs into Reid, including an antihistamine and the sedatives Valium and Narcan. The plane was diverted to Boston.

The charges against Reid include attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals, attempted homicide of U.S. nationals, placing an explosive device on an aircraft, attempted murder of the passengers and crew and interference with a flight crew.

A charge of attempting to wreck a mass transportation vehicle was dropped earlier this year.

CNN correspondents Susan Candiotti and Kelli Arena contributed to this report.

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