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Plea deal possible in Family Research Council shooting

By Carol Cratty, CNN Senior Producer
updated 8:05 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Floyd Corkins is accused of opening fire at the Family Research Council's office
  • Building manager Leo Johnson was shot in the arm in August attack in Washington
  • Corkins objected to group's stance against homosexuality, FBI affidavit says

(CNN) -- The man accused of walking into the Washington headquarters of the Family Research Council in August and shooting an employee is scheduled to appear in federal court on Wednesday and may plead guilty to some charges.

Floyd Corkins, 28, was arrested at the conservative policy group's office where the building manager, Leo Johnson, was shot in the arm.

The federal public defender representing Corkins filed a motion in early January asking for a short delay in the case "to allow the parties to complete plea negotiations." Attorney David Bos said the government agreed to the delay.

Bos did not discuss the specifics of the plea deal under discussion. However, at a December 3 hearing, prosecutors said they proposed that Corkins plead guilty to three charges: interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition, assault with intent to kill while armed and an act of terrorism while armed.

Bos said at the time he had some concerns about the offer. One sticking point may concern the count accusing Corkins of an act of terrorism while armed. That District of Columbia law was passed in 2002 but has never been used before.

The charge alleged Corkins wanted to kill Johnson and other Family Research Council employees "with the intent to intimidate and coerce a significant portion of the civilian population of the District of Columbia and the United States."

At that December hearing, prosecutors did not publicly discuss how much prison time Corkins might have to serve if he agreed to plead guilty to the three charges. Seven other charges would be dismissed. There's no word on whether the terms of the proposed deal have changed in the last two months.

An August affidavit by FBI Special Agent Garrett Nabors alleged that Corkins walked into the Family Research Council on August 15, encountered the building manager and said words to the effect of, "I don't like your politics."

Corkins allegedly reached into his backpack and pulled out a 9 mm hangun and fired at Johnson, who was handling security at the building's entrance. According to the document, security camera footage captured the shooting and showed Johnson tackling his attacker and taking away his gun.

According to the affidavit, police officers found a box of ammunition with 50 rounds in Corkins's backpack along with 15 sandwiches from Chick-fil-A. In the document the FBI agent noted that a senior executive of the restaurant chain had recently announced his opposition to same-sex marriage.

The Family Research Council is a Christian group that focuses on family, anti-abortion and religious liberty issues. It also views homosexuality as harmful.

At the time of the shooting, Corkins was living with his parents in Herndon, Virginia, and volunteering at a Washington center for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The August affidavit says investigators interviewed Corkins's parents after the shooting, and they said their son "has strong opinions with respect to those he believes do not treat homosexuals in a fair manner."

CNN's Paul Courson contributed to this report.

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