A man charged with building a pipe bomb to try to attack police, soldiers and other government targets in New York City has been indicted on terror charges, according to documents filed Wednesday in the rare state-level terror case.
The indictment accuses Jose Pimentel of both the initial terror charges against him - weapons possession and conspiracy as terror crimes, according to the document. It also includes attempted weapons possession as a terror crime.
He "attempted to build explosive devices as part of his plan to use violence to influence the foreign policy of the United States government by intimidation and coercion, specifically by committing acts of violence against United States military personnel and others," the indictment says.
It outlines conversations, computer research on bomb-making, shopping trips to secure supplies that included clocks and Christmas lights and finally efforts to assemble the explosive over several days before Pimentel's Nov. 19 arrest.
His lawyers, Lori Cohen and Susan J. Walsh, called the case one of "police overreaching" and a self-serving informant who honed in on a broke, lonely and curious 27-year-old.
"This case, whatever it is, certainly is not terrorism," they said in a statement.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. said, "As charged by the grand jury, Jose Pimentel engaged in a plot to build improvised explosive devices and use them to commit acts of violent jihad. He crossed the line from violent rhetoric on his internet sites to building pipe bombs to be used against our citizens. Today’s indictment reflects our commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to keep New Yorkers safe.”
Pimentel, who is being held without bail, is now scheduled to be arraigned on March 13, court records show.
The Dominican Republic-born al-Qaida sympathizer and Muslim convert was busy assembling his homemade bomb when he was arrested, authorities said. He later told police that he believed Islamic law obligates all Muslims to wage war against Americans to retaliate for U.S. military action in the Middle East, police said. He also wanted to undermine support for the wars in Iraq and \
Most terror cases are federal, but this one was brought under a state terror law passed after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has said circumstances compelled investigators to act fast using state charges, but police had apprised federal authorities of the case earlier. Two law enforcement officials, however, have said the FBI stayed out of the case because agents felt he wasn't inclined or able to act without the informant's involvement. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the case.