BOSTON (Reuters) - The Massachusetts man charged with plotting to attack the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol with remote-controlled model airplanes packed with explosives entered a guilty plea in a Boston federal court on Friday.
Rezwan Ferdaus told a packed courtroom, including his distraught family members, that he would accept the plea deal for a 17-year prison sentence that was hammered out by his attorneys and prosecutors earlier this month.
The charges against Ferdaus carried a potential combined sentence of 35 years in prison. Sentencing will take place on November 1.
Ferdaus, of Ashland, Massachusetts, is charged with attempting to destroy and damage a federal building, and attempting to provide material support to terrorists.
He earlier pleaded not guilty to a total of six charges after his arrest in September 2011. Authorities dropped some of the charges in exchange for the guilty plea.
A Muslim-American born and raised in Massachusetts to parents of Bangladeshi descent, Ferdaus was arrested after an FBI investigation during which he requested and took delivery of explosives, grenades and assault rifles from undercover FBI agents that he believed were members of al Qaeda.
At the time of his arrest, the physics graduate from Northeastern University had obtained one remote-controlled aircraft, a scale model of a U.S. Navy F-86 Sabre fighter jet about the size of a picnic table, which he kept in a storage locker in suburban Boston rented under a false name.
(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Jackie Frank)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Check for restrictions at: http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp