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A Jordanian man accused of trying to blow up a Dallas skyscraper with what he thought was a car bomb pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Monday.

Hosam Maher Smadi, 19, told the judge "I'm not guilty on both counts" before she formally asked for his plea on one count of attempting to use of a weapon of mass destruction and one count of bombing a public place.

U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn set a trial date of Dec. 7. But Smadi's court-appointed attorneys said they plan to ask that the trial begin sometime after March.

During the hearing, a court interpreter stood next to Smadi, speaking softly in Arabic. The teenager told the judge he studied English while attending a Baptist school in Jordan and understood some of what was said in court. Smadi, who wore an orange prison-issued jumpsuit, also said he had an 11th-grade education.

Authorities arrested Smadi on Sept. 24 after he allegedly parked a truck in a garage beneath the 60-story Fountain Place office building in downtown Dallas. Once he was at a safe distance, Smadi dialed a cell phone he thought would ignite a bomb in the vehicle — but the device was actually a decoy provided by FBI agents posing as al-Qaida operatives, according to the FBI.

The FBI says it had been keeping tabs on Smadi after discovering him on an extremist Web site earlier this year. Investigators have said the teenager acted alone and was not affiliated with any terrorist organizations.


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