Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse is charged with hijackings, piracy, hostage taking and other related counts for his alleged role in trying attack the U.S. based crew as the ship passed off the coast of Somalia.
While Muse was captured, three other pirates were killed when Navy Seals fired three simultaneous sniper shots to end the standoff. Captain Richard Phillips was among the crew saved by the military operation.
Muse was brought to New York for trial last year by FBI agents to face the federal charges. Somali pirates have been attacking freighters for years demanding payoffs in exchange for letting crews and ships go free. The prosecution of Muse is the first of a "pirate" since at least the early 1800's, officials said.
Muse is accused of taking part in at least three hijackings. His mother had urged his release, claiming Muse was forced into piracy by "gangsters with money."
A spokeswoman for U.S. attorney Preet Bharara declined comment on the expected plea deal. Muse's attorney could not be reached for comment.
Jonathan Dienst WNBC
WNBC Jonathan Dienst