Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Father of NY Bomb-Plotter Faces More Charges
The father of a Colorado man who admitted in February to plotting to bomb New York City's subway system last year is facing additional charges.
Mohammad Wali Zazi, 54 years old, was indicted earlier this year on a charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with a grand-jury probe involving terrorism.
A new eight-county superseding indictment, unsealed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on Monday, added charges against Mr. Zazi of obstruction of justice, witness tampering, making false statements and visa fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the most serious counts of obstruction of justice.
"He's going to plead not guilty next week," said Deborah Colson, Mr. Zazi's lawyer. "We continue to ask the public to withhold judgment until the facts are revealed."
An arraignment on the new charges is scheduled for Dec. 9.
Federal prosecutors have alleged in part that Mr. Zazi conspired with others to alter, destroy, mutilate or conceal "glasses, masks, liquid chemicals and containers" and attempted to do so "with the intent to impair the objects' integrity and availability for use in one or more official proceedings."
Mr. Zazi's son, Najibullah Zazi, admitted in February that he plotted with others to carry out a bomb attack on the New York City subway system in September 2009.
The younger Zazi said he drove to New York with explosives and other bomb-making materials in September 2009, but threw them away after he learned he was being investigated by law enforcement.
Najibullah Zazi, who worked as an airport shuttle driver in Colorado prior to his arrest, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit murder outside the U.S., and providing material support to al Qaeda.
Zarein Ahmedzay, a Queens cab driver, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and providing material support to al Qaeda in the case in April.
In July, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn alleged that the bomb plot, which would have targeted Manhattan subway lines, was organized by three senior al Qaeda leaders, including Adnan el Shukrijumah, one of the U.S.'s most wanted terrorists.
The U.S. has been searching for Mr. Shukrijumah, a Saudi Arabia native, for several years and is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.
Prosecutors claimed in court documents in July that the New York plot was part of a bigger scheme by al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan to use Western operatives to also attack a target in the U.K.
Adis Medunjanin, a Queens part-time building superintendent, also has been charged criminally in the case. He is awaiting trial and has denied wrongdoing.
Mr. Medunjanin, a U.S. citizen whose parents are from Bosnia, was arrested in January following a car accident on the Whitestone Expressway.
Prosecutors have alleged that Mr. Medunjanin attempted to crash his car into another car on the Whitestone Expressway as a last attempt to carry out a suicide attack on American soil. Just before crashing his car, Mr. Medunjanin called 911 to identify himself and announce his intentions, prosecutors said.