Airline attack suspect relying on lawyer in court

By ED WHITE | October 10, 2011 | 3:50 PM EDT

DETROIT (AP) — The man on trial for a failed attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound plane with a bomb in his underwear is acting as his own lawyer. But Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (OO'-mahr fah-ROOK' ahb-DOOL'-moo-TAH'-lahb) is relying on an experienced attorney to work the courtroom.

Anthony Chambers will grill most witnesses. He's also persuaded Abdulmutallab to let him give Tuesday's opening statement.

The result is likely to be a more focused defense — not a wild justification for trying to bring down an international flight for al-Qaida on Christmas 2009.

Federal judges often appoint a lawyer as "standby counsel" to assist someone who chooses to go alone.

Observers say the court wants Abdulmutallab to have proper representation in part so no one can later claim he was given responsibility he couldn't handle.