First reported 2/17/2010 2:20 p.m.

An attorney for the River Forest man arrested a year ago on domestic terrorism charges is trying to negotiate a plea deal with federal prosecutors, according to a recent court filing.

Ronald Haddad Jr., 34, faces up to 10 years in prison for allegedly sending threatening letters and packages of live ammunition and white powder to Chicago, county and state officials in 2008 and early 2009. He has been on home confinement for the past year while undergoing an extensive psychiatric evaluation.

Haddad, whose next court appearance is scheduled for March 19, was originally scheduled to be formally indicted by March 11, 2009. That process was repeatedly delayed by a total of seven motions granted to allow a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation to determine whether Haddad could stand trial.

Last week, prosecutors filed a motion before Chief Judge James F. Holderman for an eighth delay, saying they and Haddad’s defense attorney, Piyush Chandra, need 30 more days to negotiate a possible plea agreement.

Prosecutors told the judge they were seeking “an alternative resolution” to Haddad’s case, one which they say would save judicial resources, including grand jury time.

“The government spoke with defense counsel on Feb. 16 about potentially agreeing to proceed by way of information and plea agreement in this case,” the motions states.

“The parties may be able to reach such an agreement …”

In late August, after several extensions of time, the court was notified Haddad’s evaluation was reaching the end. Following a court hearing Sept. 2, Haddad agreed to admit himself to a hospital for further psychiatric evaluation.

In early October, prosecutors sought an emergency hearing to have Haddad’s bond revoked after he reportedly started faxing certain people – a move that concerned the prosecution. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole declined to do so, but sternly admonished Haddad to refrain from such practices and entered a formal order prohibited him from using any fax machine.

The copies of the faxes Haddad allegedly sent out are currently under court seal.

The mental health evaluation was completed in January. A report from the defense’s mental health expert was forwarded to prosecutors on Jan. 19.

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