MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — Attorneys in the case of "lone-wolf" terror suspect Jose Pimentel, who allegedly plotted to target government officials and members of the military with homemade pipe bombs, are in the midst of plea negotiations as the grand jury presentation was postponed yet again, both sides said Monday.
The Manhattan District Attorney's office took the case after the FBI, which usually handles terrorism-related matters, declined to pursue it. Sources said that the feds did not take the case because the NYPD's informant was present with suspect every step of the way, raising questions about his intent.
During a brief statement in court on Monday, Assistant District Attorney Brian Fields confirmed that his office was involved in plea negotiations about Pimentel, but did not go into detail. The case was adjourned to March.
This is the second time that the DA's office has requested a delay in the grand jury presentation, with the consent of Pimentel's attorney, Lori Cohen. Pimentel did not appear in court on Monday.
Cohen would not provide details of the plea talks. But she said there have not yet been any firm plea offers by prosecutors, and added that the discussions are continuing.
Cohen said she's reviewing evidence collected as part of the case.
Pimentel, of Hamilton Heights, was arrested in November on various weapons and conspiracy charges. Police and prosecutors said he planned to detonate bombs in attacks on government workers and military personnel.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the NYPD had been investigating Pimentel for roughly a year. Authorities described him as a "lone wolf" who hatched his alleged criminal plans without assistance from terrorist organizations, although he allegedly told authorities he had been inspired by Islamic extremists and Al Qaeda.
Pimentel lived with his uncle on West 137th Street but was arrested in the Washington Heights apartment of of an informant. Authorities found what they described a "library" of Al Qaeda materials.