Norway Shooter Anders Breivik Pleads Not Guilty, Cries in Court

Anders Breivik "acknowledges" killing 77 people, but says it was self-defense.

ByLee Ferran
April 16, 2012, 8:48 AM

April 16, 2012 — -- The right wing extremist who has confessed to murdering 77 people -- many of them teenagers -- in a shooting and bombing spree in Norway cried at the start of his trial today, but not for his victims.

Anders Breivik told the court he acknowledged the mass murder but pleaded not guilty, claiming it was done in self-defense as part of his war against "multiculturalism" in the European nation. He expressed no emotion as he entered his plea but broke down and had to wipe away tears when the court played a portion of a propaganda video he had made in support of his new "crusade" in Norway.

Breivik is accused of carrying out the July 2011 bombing in Oslo, Norway, that killed eight people, followed by a shooting spree at a nearby youth summer camp that claimed another 69 lives.

READ: Norway Shooting Survivor: 'They Just Fell, Lifeless'

Before the massacre, Breivik posted a 1,500 page manifesto online in which he said he was just one operative in the beginning of a violent Christian conservative revolution in Europe led by a group called the new Knights Templar. Breivik had planned on a 60-plus year struggle against mutliculturalism until the Knights would take control over Europe, the manifesto said.

A court official pointed out today that in a picture Breivik had apparently taken of himself, he had digitally altered the image to include a patch that read, "Multicultural Traitor Hunting Permit… Tagging Not Required… No Bag Limit."

Breivik said today that he did not recognize the authority of the court since it got its "mandate from the Norwegian political parties who support multiculturalism."

Breivik: Trial Is 'Stage to the World'

In his manifesto, Breivik said that getting arrested and put on trial was just another part of the overall plan.

"Your arrest will mark the initiation of the propaganda phase," he wrote. "Your trial offers you a stage to the world."

A panel of experts recently found Breivik was sane and fit to stand trial, contradicting an earlier psychiatric report that said Breivik suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Both Breivik and some of the families of his victims objected to the first diagnosis.

The families want Breivik to be legally responsible for his actions, and Breivik said in a 38-page letter to the Norwegian media that he considered the insanity diagnosis the "ultimate humiliation."

Breivik's defense is expected to try to prove his sanity by calling both Islamic extremists and right-wing extremists to the stand to demonstrate that others believe "Europe is the setting for a war of religion" and, therefore, Breivik's belief in such a conflict are not delusional, according to Breivik's lawyer, Geir Lippestad.

ABC News' Randy Kreider and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events