Man pleads not guilty in NY terror pipe-bomb plot
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Last Updated: Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 11:53
  
New York: A Dominican-born Muslim convert charged with plotting to attack police and soldiers with homemade bombs pleaded not guilty in New York to rarely used state-level terrorism charges.

Jose Pimentel yesterday nearly whispered "not guilty" in a case authorities describe as bringing down an overt al-Qaida sympathizer who was building a pipe bomb to act on his violent beliefs.

His lawyers call it an example of police overreaching.

"We think that when a jury hears both sides of this case, they'll see it for what it really is," one of his lawyers, Susan J Walsh, said as she left court.

Also known as Muhammad Yusuf, Pimentel had a website detailing his belief in jihad, or holy war, and said he believed Muslims were obligated to attack Americans as retaliation for US military action in Muslim countries, authorities said.

Pimentel told an informant he wanted to attack targets that included police cars and stations, post offices and soldiers returning home from abroad, authorities said. He was arrested while making his homemade bomb in November, according to prosecutors and police.

"Jose Pimentel engaged in a plot to build improvised explosive devices and use them to commit acts of violent jihad," crossing a line between rhetoric and trying to take action, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr said in a statement after Pimentel was indicted last month on charges including weapons possession and conspiracy as terror crimes. Both carry the possibility of up to life in prison if the 27-year-old Pimentel is convicted.

The terrorism charges stem from a state law passed shortly after the Sept 11 attacks. Most terrorism cases are federal, and the state law has been used only a handful of times, including in another case against two men charged with plotting to attack synagogues.

PTI


First Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 11:49


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