The father of would-be New York subway bomber Najibullah Zazi was convicted Friday for destroying material evidence and covering up facts he knew federal officials could use against his son in a federal terrorism investigation.
Najibullah Zazi pleaded guilty last year to acquiring explosives before travelling in September 2009 to N.Y.C. with the intent to use them in an attack against the city's subway. The younger Zazi also admitted that he received training from and discussed his plans with al-Qaida leaders in Pakistan. Najibullah is still awaiting sentencing.
Najibullah's father, Mohammed Wali Zazi, instructed family members to destroy bomb-making materials before authorities could find them. He also lied to authorities investigating Najibullah.
Mohammed told federal investigators that he did not know a Queens imam, when he in fact did. Moreover, Mohammed had recently spoken on the phone to Imam Ahmed Wais Afzali about his son's case. Afzali later pleaded guilty to tipping off Najibullah that investigators were on to him.
Mohammed also misrepresented to authorities his relationship to Amanullah Zazi, his nephew and a co-conspirator in the case. Amanullah pleaded guilty in secret in January of last year and agreed to become a government witness. He admitted to hooking up Najibullah with a Pakistani cleric so he could receive al-Qaida training.
Najibullah's uncle, Naqib Jaji, pleaded guilty to helping cover up the case by destroying the bomb-making materials.
"[Mohammed Zazi] sought to conceal one of the most serious terror plots in recent times. He also enlisted others to help him spin his web of lies and to destroy key evidence," said U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch. "Had the plot not been thwarted, it would have left Americans at grave risk."
Mohammed Zazi is scheduled to be sentenced on December 2. He faces 20 years in prison on each of the two counts of conviction—conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice.
The elder Zazi's attorney, Deborah Colson, said that Zazi expects to appeal the verdict.