As a former prosecutor, I find John Brennan’s statement that we could plea bargain with Abdulmutallab to be nothing short of silly.Typically prosecutors enter into plea bargains if they feel that the evidence may not be sufficient to convict, or, if it would be necessary to reveal the identity of confidential informants (or information) to secure a conviction, or, if it is possible to obtain important information from the suspect.
To me, none of those circumstances applies. The first two are easy… a conviction is a slam dunk, and the only witnesses needed at trial are some of the passengers, and a chemist who can identify the material found on Abdulmutallab as an explosive.
As to the third, I suspect I will differ from most, but to me, Abdulmutallab is a foot soldier who is unlikely to possess any meaningful information. But, what if he does, you ask?
Both he and his attorney know at best, life in prison is a certainty. If he has valuable information, now would be the time to reveal it, not months or years later when the information is too old to be of any use. And, as the prosecutor, said information is given with no promises from the government, and no plea bargain for a reduced sentence. All Abdulmutallab gets is an agreement to bring his “cooperation” (if useful) to the attention of the court at the time of sentencing. Period.
But, as his attorney also is aware, time is running out. If his client knows something that could avert another attack, said information best be given before that attack. Otherwise, his client will just rot in jail… forever.