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Confessed "underwear bomber" asks for new legal adviser

(Reuters) - Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian who confessed to trying to blow up a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day 2009, has asked the judge who will sentence him next month to give him a new legal adviser.

In a three-page, hand-written note to U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds, Abdulmutallab, who represented himself but was given a court-appointed legal adviser named Anthony Chambers, said his relationship with Chambers "is strained to say the least."

Abdulmutallab, who will turn 25 this month, told Edmunds he would like her to appoint a Muslim male as his standby counsel and even provided the name of a Michigan lawyer he said he would work with.

Edmunds, who has scheduled sentencing in the case for January 19, said she would consider the request at a hearing on January 6.

In October, Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty to eight felonies, including conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism, attempted murder and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

He said he wanted to blow up Northwest Flight 253 with 290 people aboard as it approached Detroit from Amsterdam to avenge the killing of innocent Muslims by the United States.

The device malfunctioned and burned Abdulmutallab, who was then overpowered by other passengers.

Al Qaeda's resurgent Yemen-based arm claimed responsibility for the failed 2009 attack, which was also praised by Osama bin Laden in 2010, months before the al Qaeda leader was killed in a U.S. commando raid in Pakistan.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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