NEW YORK — A pair of Brooklyn attorneys who were facing up to 10 years in prison for setting fire to an empty New York City police vehicle two years ago agreed to a new plea deal Thursday that could significantly reduce their time spent behind bars.
During a federal court hearing on Thursday, the two attorneys withdrew their earlier plea deal and entered new ones as part of a deal that would cut their time in prison to no more than five years but likely less.
Under the new plea deal, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is recommending that the attorneys, Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman, face no more than two years in prison in connection with the firebombing of the police vehicle.
No one was injured in the attack, which came amid an eruption of demonstrations following the death of George Floyd.
U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan said he was not bound by the sentencing recommendations under the new plea deal, but would take it into account when he sentences the two attorneys this fall.
As part of the deal, Mattis and Rahman affirmed that they had planned out the attack when they made what prosecutors described as Molotov cocktails.
The pair was arrested after clashes between protesters and police during a May 30, 2020, demonstration in Brooklyn.
Surveillance cameras recorded Rahman, now a 33-year-old human rights lawyer, hurling an incendiary device into a police vehicle, setting fire to its console.
Officers arrested the lawyers a short time later and said they found a lighter, a Bud Light beer bottle filled with toilet paper and a gasoline tank in the back of a minivan driven by Mattis, a 32-year-old corporate attorney. Prosecutors allege the lawyers planned to distribute and throw other Molotov cocktails.
Fifty-six former federal prosecutors urged the court in a written brief to criticize the government’s handling of the case.
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