Shoe Bomb Suspect Charged in Nine-Count Indictment

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:20 PM EDT

( - Shoe bomb suspect Richard Reid was charged Wednesday in a 9-count indictment for allegedly trying to blow up an American Airlines jetliner during a transatlantic flight from Paris to Miami by igniting explosives in his sneakers.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft commended the courage of the crew and passengers of the American Airlines flight who acted quickly to subdue Reid, saying, "our trust in the common sense of people to act in the face of terrorism was vindicated."

Ashcroft described the heroic efforts of the passengers.

"One man on board, a doctor, sedated Reid. Another passenger held a fire extinguisher as a weapon while Reid was being restrained. On Flight 63 for a very few minutes at least, every passenger was vigilant and alert. Every passenger and air marshal. And as a result, the 197 people on board that flight made it to the ground safely that day," he said.

A federal grand jury in Massachusetts returned a 9-count indictment against Reid. He is charged "as an al Qaeda-trained terrorist who attempted to destroy American Airlines Flight 63 with explosive devices concealed in his shoes," Ashcroft said.

Reid's charges are as follows:
- One count of the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction;
- One count of attempted homicide of US nationals overseas;
- One count of placing an explosive device on an aircraft;
- One count of attempted murder of passengers on an aircraft;
- Two counts of interfering with a flight crew;
- One count of willfully attempting to set fire to and destroy an aircraft;
- One count of using a destructive device during a crime of violence;

"And finally," Ashcroft said, "the indictment charges Reid with one count of a new anti-terrorism offense created with the passage of the US Patriot Act, attempted wrecking of a mass transportation vehicle."

He thanked Congress "for providing use with the necessary tools that we need to protect the safety and security of American citizens."

"As was the case with the charges filed against John Walker Lindh yesterday, our ability to prosecute terrorists has been greatly enhanced by the USA Patriot Act," Ashcroft said.

FBI agent Margaret Cronin, who testified in late December that Reid was carrying "a homemade bomb," said an explosives expert concluded that if the sneakers have been placed against an outside wall and detonated, they "would have blown a hole in the fuselage." Reid was in a window seat.

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