Man who plotted to blow up Pentagon, Capitol pleads not guilty

Man who plotted to blow up Pentagon, Capitol pleads not guilty

Massachusetts resident Rezwan Ferdaus, a Northeastern University graduate, appeared at a US District Court near Boston and entered his not guilty plea to all six charges before Magistrate Judge Timothy Hillman.

Hillman has set a detention hearing for Ferdaus on October 20. If convicted on all six counts and given the maximum sentence on each, Ferdaus faces imprisonment for about 85 years.

Ferdaus' defense attorney Catherine Byrne said her client was the victim of the FBI and US Attorney's office, which had conducted an undercover investigation that led to his arrest last week.

"This case was orchestrated and facilitated by the government," Byrne said. Ferdaus, an US citizen, went by the name 'Bollywood' when he played drums in a Massachusetts band.

He was also charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, specifically to al-Qaeda, in order to carry out attacks on US soldiers stationed  overseas.

According to documents, Ferdaus began planning to commit violent 'jihad' against the US in early 2010. He obtained mobile phones, which he modified to act as an electrical switch for an IED.

He then supplied the phones to FBI undercover agents who he believed were members of al-Qaeda. During a June 2011 meeting, he had appeared gratified when he was told that his first phone detonation device had killed three US soldiers and injured four or five others in Iraq. Ferdaus responded, "That was exactly what I wanted."

He was also anxious to know how well each of his detonation devices had worked and how many Americans they had killed. During recorded conversations, Ferdaus stated that he devised the idea of attacking the Pentagon a long time ago and that his jihad had "started last year".

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