Sabazz confers attorney Povill outside the county courthouse
KINGSTON – The Ulster County District Attorney’s Office has offered a plea bargain to Ismail Shabazz, the embattled Black Panther accused of selling weapons to an undercover federal informant.
News of the offer was disclosed at a conference held Thursday at the
County Court in Kingston. In exchange for a guilty plea, all but the top
count would be dropped, resulting in a sentence of seven years in prison,
plus five years parole and a $6,000 fine.
Presiding judge Richard McNally Jr. noted that he would strongly consider the minimum sentence of 3 ½ years prison, two years probation, and the fine. Defense attorney Joshua Povill replied they would take the offer under advisement but not accept the plea at this time.
“He has given us time to consider what we would like to do, knowing that this was the offer and it would remain open for only a certain amount of time,” Povill said. “And after that time passes, it is likely that it will go to trial.”
Defense attempted a counter-offer to a lesser charge, which was refused by prosecutors. On the table is a plea to second degree criminal sale of a weapon, a violent felony. Otherwise the trial will commence July 19.
The two other charges – possession of a loaded firearm – each carries a potential sentence of 15 years. Shabazz is 60 years old.
Povill said discovery is roughly 80 percent complete.
A pistol permit application, submitted by Shabazz several years ago, remains unreleased. The form was never processed, and wound up at the DA’s office. Discussion of the ironic document drew a smirk from the judge.
“It is somewhat of a side matter, but something I want to get to the bottom of, with Ismail’s pistol permit,” Povill explained. “We still don’t have a clear answer where it went. The application was filed but we don’t know what happened with it. According to the DA’s office, it was never acted on, it was never granted or denied; it just sat; it was there.”