Suspected shoe bomb conspirator indicted
By Terry Frieden
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A man suspected of involvement in the botched attempt by "shoe bomber" Richard Reid to blow up an airliner in December 2001 has been indicted by a grand jury in Boston, the Justice Department announced Monday.
Saajid Mohammed Badat, 25, is jailed in London where he has pleaded innocent to similar charges.
He is accused by U.S. authorities of conspiring to destroy an aircraft and several related crimes.
Attorney General John Ashcroft and Boston-based U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan announced the indictment at a Justice Department news conference.
The seven-count indictment alleges Badat and Reid obtained custom-made shoe bombs in Afghanistan to be used to attack U.S. interests, including American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami.
Reid attempted to detonate one of the shoe bombs on that December 22, 2001, flight, but was wrestled to the floor by suspicious passengers and flight crew members. The flight was diverted to Boston, where Reid was later charged and pleaded guilty.
Reid 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.
Badat, a British citizen who was arrested November 27, 2003, in Britain, has, according to the indictment, "admitted that he was asked to conduct a shoe bombing like Reid."
Police say components of Badat's shoe bombs were seized on the day of his arrest from his home in Gloucester, England.
The Justice Department said Reid and Badat "created numerous e-mail accounts to communicate and coordinate the conspiracy."
It contends the two men traveled to Pakistan and several European countries, including Belgium, where it is alleged that both Badat and Reid "went to the British Embassy ... falsely claiming to have lost their passports."
They received new British passports, and Reid used his to board Flight 63, the Justice Department said.
At his sentencing, a defiant Reid pledged allegiance to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, called himself a soldier of Islam, and accused the United States of killing "2 million children in Iraq" and of sponsoring rape and torture of Muslims in Egypt, Turkey, Syria and Jordan.
At one point, Reid pointed to the U.S. flag in the courtroom and said, "That flag will be brought down on the day of judgment." He was wrestled out of court by federal marshals.
Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person facing criminal charges in the United States in connection with the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, has made similar statements in open court.
In July, government court documents revealed Reid wrote a letter to Moussaoui.
The contents of the letter were not revealed, but a source close to the case told CNN it included an offer to testify during Moussaoui's trial.