Times Square Bomber Faisal Shahzad Pleads Guilty
Details are still sketchy, but it’s being reported that Faisal Shahzad has pled guilty to the charges against him in connection with the May 1st bombing attempt in Times Square:
The defendant in the Times Square bomb plot pleaded guilty to a 10-count indictment on Monday, an abrupt and expedited end to a homegrown terror plot that extended into Pakistan and an Islamic militant group there.
The defendant, Faisal Shahzad, 30, entered the courtroom just after 4:30 p.m., his hands cuffed behind his back. He sat at a table and drummed his fingers on the surface as his lawyer Philip Weinstein conferred with Judge Miriam Goldman Cederbaum and a prosecutor.
The judge asked Mr. Shahzad, who wore a dark blue short and a white skullcap, to stand.
The judge asked Mr. Shahzad to stand. She told him that the first charge he faced was attempted use of weapon of mass destruction, count one.
“How do you plead to that charge?” the judge asked.
“I do plead guilty to that charge,” Mr. Shahzad said.
The judge then said to Mr. Shahzad, “I gather you want to plead guilty to all of them.”
“Yes,” Mr. Shahzad said.
Mr. Shahzad’s guilty plea was consistent with his behavior since his arrest on May 3, when began cooperating with federal authorities for more than two weeks without counsel and waiving his Miranda rights. The only question would be whether Mr. Shahzad would be seeking some sort of leniency in sentencing in return for his assistance, something his lawyers may be seeking.
But legal experts say that absent any sort of written agreement – and there may be none since he cooperated for so long without a lawyer — the government is under no obligation to push leniency for Mr. Shahzad, who faces a mandatory life sentence on two counts.
The first count of the indictment against Shahzad alone carries a mandatory life sentence, so unless the U.S. Attorney has agreed to some kind of sentencing leniency, which seems incredibly unlikely in this case, iShahzad will be spending the rest of his life as a guest of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
What’s most interesting, though, is the fact of his almost immediate cooperation with authorities. It will be interesting to see what kind of intelligence bonanza that may have resulted in.