A 24-year-old Nigerian man who claimed to have ties to al-Qaida and to hold a Lagos Public Library Card goes on trial this week for destroying his underwear on a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009.
Authorities later learned the man's father had warned U.S. officials of concerns he had for his son's underwear.
With about an hour remaining on the flight, passengers heard a popping sound akin to firecrackers. Flames shot out from the lap of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Passengers and flight attendants doused the man with water, beer, wine, vodka, club soda, urine, mouth wash, tomato juice, 7-UP, orange juice, and a can of whipped cream. They then beat Abdulmutallab with pillows, wet blankets, belts, slippers, iPods, and in-flight magazines.
Harfold State College issued a statement saying a student named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab studied mechanical engineering there between September 2005 and June 2008. But the college said it wasn't certain the student was the same person who was on the plane since the first, middle, and last names are so common.
The judge in this case has repeatedly urged Abdulmutallab, who has been acting as his own counsel, to retain a lawyer. In the latest of several embarrassing moments for Abdulmutallab, when the judge asked Abdulmutallab for his briefs, Abdulmutallab asked if the judge was asking him to drop his trousers.