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Ahmed Ferhani, one of two men from Queens, New York, accused last year of plotting to attack synagogues, is considering a plea bargain, his attorney said.
An offer from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. would give Ferhani, a native of Algeria, less jail time than the maximum sentence he could face in exchange for a plea of guilty to terrorism, the lawyer, Lamis Deek, said today outside court.
Deek declined to give further details. Erin Duggan, a spokeswoman for Vance’s office, declined to comment.
“The offer of a sentence is substantially less than the maximum he’d be exposed to,” Deek said. She added that while the offer seeks to have him plead guilty to terrorism charges, she believes the worst case against him is much more minor.
“At worst, this case is one of a gun crime,” Deek said. “And even in that context, we would say he was entrapped.”
Ferhani was arrested in May 2011 and accused of conspiring to bomb synagogues and churches in Manhattan along with Mohamed Mamdouh, a Moroccan immigrant. The men were arrested after buying two Browning semi-automatic pistols, a Smith & Wesson revolver, ammunition and an inert grenade.
The arrests followed an eight-month undercover operation by Vance and the New York City police. Both men pleaded not guilty.
Ferhani and Mamdouh said on April 12 they wanted to blow up a synagogue and discussed how to do it without being caught, according to their indictment. Ferhani also asked an undercover detective if he could contact someone about how to make a bomb, said they should dress as Jewish worshippers, and wanted to blow up 10 synagogues at once, prosecutors said in the indictment.
A motion to exclude some from Ferhani’s case, scheduled for today before New York State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus, was postponed until Oct. 16.
The case is New York v. Ferhani, 2461/2011, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).
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