Update at 12:30 p.m.: Rezwan Ferdaus has pleaded guilty.
Federal prosecutors and Ferdaus’ lawyers have agreed to request a 17-year prison sentence, and his sentencing hearing was set for Nov. 1.
The Associated Press reports from the Boston courtroom:
His mother sobbed uncontrollably after Ferdaus was led away. She had to be helped by Ferdaus’ brother.
The Ashland man accused of plotting to fly explosive-packed model airplanes into the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon is scheduled to plead guilty to federal terrorism charges Friday.
As WBUR’s David Boeri reports for our Newscast unit:
Rezwan Ferdaus was caught in a sting operation by undercover FBI employees posing as al-Qaida terrorists.
The 26-year-old Muslim-American, who has a physics degree from Northeastern University, has been held since his arrest in September.
His defense attorney has argued the plan was the fantasy of a mentally ill man who could not have carried it out on his own.
The plea deal calls for a recommended sentence of 17 years in prison.
Under the deal, Ferdaus will plead guilty to attempting to provide material support to terrorists and attempting to damage and destroy federal buildings by means of an explosive. Four other charges will be dismissed.
Authorities have said the public was never in danger because explosives were always in control of federal officials.