Times Square Bomb Suspect Shahzad Pleads Guilty to WMD Charge

BY newsdesk  June 21, 2010 at 5:29 PM EDT

Faisal Shahzad file photo

The Pakistan-born U.S. citizen accused of trying to detonate a car bomb in New York’s Times Square last month pleaded guilty Monday to terrorism-related charges in federal court.

Faisal Shahzad, 30, of Bridgeport, Conn., entered a plea to the first of 10 charges in an indictment, but said he plans to plead guilty to all of them, The Associated Press reported. He told the judge he wanted to “plead guilty and 100 times more” and warned that unless the U.S. leaves Muslim lands, “We will be attacking U.S.”

He was arraigned Monday by U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum in a Manhattan courtroom. He faces life in prison and has been cooperating with authorities since he was arrested, officials said.

Shahzad made the plea and an accompanying statement as the judge began asking him a lengthy series of questions to ensure he understood his rights. She did not immediately accept the plea [Updated 5:41 p.m. ET], but she did later in the hearing.

Cedarbaum asked Shahzad if he understood he might spend the rest of his life in prison. He said he did.

As he entered pleas one-by-one, he started by pleading guilty to attempted use of weapons of mass destruction.

Shahzad, who became a U.S. citizen last year, was accused of carrying out a plot to detonate a gasoline-and-propane bomb on May 1 in an SUV parked near a Broadway theater. Two days later, he was arrested aboard a Dubai-bound jetliner that was minutes from leaving New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

According to the indictment, he received a total of $12,000 prior to the attempted attack from the Pakistani Taliban through cash drop-offs in Massachusetts and Long Island. Prosecutors said Shahzad, who has a wife and two children in Pakistan, had traveled to a Taliban and al-Qaida stronghold in Pakistan for five weeks to receive bomb-making training. He returned to the U.S. in February.

Several people have been arrested in Pakistan in the case and American authorities carried out raids in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maine, detaining several people on immigration charges.

For more background on the case, click here.

We’ll have more on the hearing on Monday’s NewsHour.