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Law

Exchange between Reid, judge follows life sentence

Reid lashed out against the U.S. government after the sentence was announced.
Reid lashed out against the U.S. government after the sentence was announced.

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BOSTON (CNN) -- The man who admitted to trying to blow up a U.S. jetliner with explosives in his shoes was wrestled out of a courtroom by federal marshals Thursday after a federal judge sentenced him to life in prison.

As he was dragged out of the courtroom, Richard Reid began yelling at Judge William Young, repeating his allegiance to Osama bin Laden.

"I'm at war with your country not for personal reasons but because you have killed so many innocents, so many children. ... My fate is in Allah's hands. ... I leave you to judge." (Read more on the exchange)

Crew and passengers on the plane -- American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami on December 22, 2001 -- helped subdue Reid before he could ignite the explosives. The flight, with nearly 200 people aboard, was diverted to Boston.

Reid, a 29-year-old British citizen, was sentenced to life in prison on three counts: one of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals outside the United States and two of interference with flight crew and attendants using a dangerous weapon. He was also ordered to pay a $2 million fine and sentenced to consecutive 20 year terms on four other counts and a 30 year term on an eighth count.

'You are a terrorist'

Reid's attorneys have said he believed bombing the plane was necessary to "prevent the destruction of Islam." In court he described himself as a "soldier."

Young responded, "You are not a soldier in any war -- you are a terrorist."

Calling the sentence Reid will face "a fair and just sentence, a righteous sentence," Young said, "We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice. ... You're big, but you're not that big. You are no warrior. I know warriors. You are a terrorist.

"You hate our freedom -- our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, and to believe or not believe as we individually choose. ... See that flag, Mr. Reid? That is the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is forgotten. And it still stands for freedom."

Defense attorney Owen Walker called Reid "laid back," and said, "You can do a malicious act without being a malicious person."

Plane's crew recounts struggle

Several crew members addressed the judge. Flight attendant Christina Jones described struggling with the 6-foot-4 Reid. "He bit me -- the pain was so fierce, I knew I was seriously injured" she said.

Jones spoke of her 8-year-old son who watched on television as she was taken off the plane by officials and brought to an ambulance. She called the incident "an emotional and physical tragedy."

Reid "dragged me into this war on terrorism, and my innocent little boy as well," she said.

Defense attorneys had asked for a postponement in sentencing on seven of the counts, insisting classified government documents used against Reid should first be released. Prosecutors argued the documents would not affect sentencing, and there was no good reason for a delay. The judge ruled in their favor.

Intelligence documents CNN has obtained from two Western nations show Reid reported to al Qaeda's head of military operations, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed -- a self-confessed planner of the Sept. 11 attacks. Among Reid's assigned tasks was a scouting trip to Israel and Egypt, looking for locations for possible terrorist attacks, the documents show. (Full story)


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