DALLAS &mash; The Jordanian national accused of attempting to blow up a Dallas skyscraper last month pleaded not guilty Monday morning during his arraignment in federal court.
Hosam "Sam" Smadi, 19, was indicted Oct. 7 on one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of bombing a public place.
Wearing an orange jumpsuit and speaking in broken English, Smadi entered his plea during a 15-minute hearing before U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn. During his brief appearance, the judge asked Smadi a number of routine questions to determine whether he understood the charges against him.
"Do you speak English?" the judge asked.
"I speak a little," Smadi replied, speaking softly.
"Do you want an interpreter?"
"I think I can speak," he said.
After conferring with his public defender, Peter Fleury, Smadi indicated that he would be more comfortable using an Arabic interpreter to make sure he understood exactly what the judge was saying. Although the interpreter stood next to Smadi and translated, Smadi answered all of the judge’s questions in English.
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