Man pleads not guilty in plot to bomb Catonsville military center

Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeJustice SystemCatonsvilleAntonio MartinezAssault

Antonio Martinez, who is accused of masterminding a failed jihadist plot to bomb a Catonsville military center, pleaded not guilty Friday to a two-count indictment charging him with the attempted murder of federal employees and the attempted use of a "weapon of mass destruction."

The 21-year-old Baltimore man, who has been in custody since his arrest a month ago, could receive life in prison if convicted on both counts, as well as a fine of up to $500,000.

Martinez, who prefers to be known as Muhammad Hussain, confessed to plotting the attack after it was foiled Dec. 8 by investigators posing as accomplices, prosecutor Christine Manuelian said in court last month. Postings to his Facebook account suggest he had adopted a radical form of Islam that views the United States as an enemy.

However, Martinez's attorney, Deputy U.S. Public Defender Joseph A. Balter, has said federal agents "induced" his client to participate in the attack, in part by supplying the phony vehicle bomb to Martinez during their undercover investigation.

Martinez appeared in Baltimore U.S. District Court wearing a maroon, jail-issued jumpsuit and a small smile. He scanned the courtroom audience twice, seeming to look for supporters, but no one appeared to be there on his behalf.

tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

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