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Alleged Shoe Bomber: I'm Innocent

Richard Reid, a Briton whom U.S. officials say trained with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network in Afghanistan, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges he tried to blow up an airliner with 197 people on board last month by detonating explosives in his shoes.

"Not guilty," Reid answered softly when asked to enter a plea in the case. For technical reasons, the defense had the judge enter the innocent plea on one of the nine charges against Reid.

A motorcade with heavy security brought Reid to the U.S. District Court in Boston. He wore an orange prison-issue jumpsuit, white socks and orange plastic sandals to the courtroom. Guards had shackled his ankles and wrists.

Reid was subdued by flight attendants and passengers on the Paris-to-Miami flight after he allegedly attempted to light a fuse protruding from his shoes.

Authorities said each shoe contained a plastic explosive often used by terrorists. They said the homemade bombs could easily have ripped a hole in the plane if Reid had successfully ignited them.

The Indictment
Click here to read the entire nine count indictment against Reid.
The indictment said Reid "received training from al-Qaida in Afghanistan," but it provided no other details about Reid's alleged ties to the network.

Reid's case is being prosecuted in Boston because the plane was diverted to the city's Logan International Airport. He could get five life sentences if convicted.

Reid's attorney, Tamar Birckhead, has said the indictment does not indicate that Reid worked on behalf of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network or any other terrorist network.

Click here for legal analysis of the indictment
from's Andrew Cohen.

Birckhead asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Dein to enter an innocent plea on Reid's behalf to the ninth charge in the indictment, attempted wrecking of a mass transportation vehicle. The charge was created by Congress in an anti-terrorism bill enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Birckhead said there was a "potential defect" in the charge. She questioned whether the American flight would qualify for the charge.

"To allege that a 767 airplane is a vehicle, let alone is a vehicle used in urban mass transportaton, is a stretch," Birckhead said.

Reid has been held without bail since his arrest Dec. 22 on the lesser charge of interfering with a flight crew.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said in Washington on Wednesday that the charges "alert us to a clear, unmistakable threat that al-Qaida could attack the United States again."

A U.S. official said Reid may be an al-Qaida agent, and an Israeli official said it was possible Reid was gathering intelligence for large-scale terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv and other cities. Both spoke on condition of anonymity.

Reid converted to Islam while in prison for petty crimes. He later worshipped at the same London mosque as Zacarias Moussaoui, charged with conspiracy in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In an interview with Britain's Channel 4 News on Thursday, Reid's father, Robin Reid of London, said he could not believe his son is an international terrorist.

"He'd been brainwashed," he said. "I think I know my son well enough to know that he wouldn't have, he couldn't have, thought of doing this on his own."

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