Local February 19, 2014 | 12:49 pm

Dominican man pleads guilty in NYC terror plot, AP reports

New York.- A man accused of building homemadebombs to wage holy war in New York City pleaded guilty Wednesday to a terrorismcharge less than a week before his scheduled trial in a rare state-levelterrorism case, AP reports.

It said Jose Pimentel, of Dominican Republicorigin, wearing a knitted skull cap, softly answered a judge’s yes-or-noquestions as he entered his plea to attempted criminal possession of a weaponas a crime of terrorism. Authorities have called the case a dramatic example ofthe threat of homegrown, one-person terrorism plots, but his lawyers haveportrayed it as an example of overzealous policing in the years since Sept. 11.

“With the plea, Pimentel, 29, was promised asentence of 16 years in prison. He would have faced a minimum of 15 years tolife if convicted of the top charge, a high-level weapons possession offense asa terrorism crime. Jury selection had been due to start Monday,” the report says.

Pimentel, also known as Muhammad Yusuf, is aDominican immigrant who was raised in the U.S. and converted to Islam around2004.

He maintained a website with articles praisingOsama bin Laden, describing Sept. 11 victims as legitimate targets and listingreasons to "nuke the USA," prosecutors said in court papers. Herepeatedly attacked his former wife for disagreeing with his militant beliefsabout Islam, and his mother had thrown him out of her apartment over his views,prosecutors said.

In 2011, Pimentel "crossed the line fromviolent rhetoric on his Internet sites to building pipe bombs to be usedagainst our citizens," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. saidwhen Pimentel was indicted.

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