Man in NYC bomb plot wanted to avoid life sentence

Jose Pimentel, bottom right, appears in a courtroom in New York, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. Pimentel, accused of building homemade bombs to wage holy war in New York City, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a terrorism charge less than a week before his scheduled trial in a rare state-level terrorism case. With the plea, Pimentel, 29, was promised a sentence of 16 years in prison. He would have faced a minimum of 15 years to life if convicted of the top charge, a high-level weapons possession offense as a terrorism crime. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)

NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers for a New York City man who pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge in a pipe bomb plot says he took the plea to avoid the possibility of life in prison.

Jose Pimentel had been charged with building homemade bombs to attack soldiers, police or even the George Washington Bridge. He entered the plea Wednesday to attempted criminal possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism.

Authorities call the case a dramatic example of the threat of homegrown, one-person terrorism plots.

Pimentel’s lawyers have portrayed it as an example of overzealous policing since 9/11. While Pimentel admitted guilt, one of his lawyers says “the question that will not be answered, at least not in a court of law, is who exactly is recruiting whom in this war, this so-called war on terror.”

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