2 high school classmates plead not guilty in alleged plot to bomb NYC subway

By Adam Goldman, AP
Thursday, February 25, 2010

2 plead not guilty in NY subway bomb plot case

NEW YORK — Two high school classmates of admitted terrorist plotter Najibullah Zazi pleaded not guilty Thursday in a foiled plot to bomb New York City subways in the days after the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Zarein Ahmedzay and Adis Medunjanin, both 25, were indicted on charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and providing material support to the al-Qaida terrorist network.

Ahmedzay and Medunjanin appeared in Brooklyn federal court later Thursday morning.

Zazi, the former Colorado air shuttle driver who aroused authorities’ attention when he drove cross-country from Denver to New York last fall, pleaded guilty to similar charges this week. Authorities have told The Associated Press he is cooperating with investigators.

“The facts alleged in this indictment shed further light on the scope of this attempted attack and underscore the importance of using every tool we have available to both disrupt plots against our nation and hold suspected terrorists accountable,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “This attack would have been deadly.”

Medunjanin and Ahmedzay — who authorities say traveled to Pakistan with Zazi in 2008 — had already faced charges in the alleged plot to set off homemade bombs on Manhattan subway lines. Police said earlier this week that Zazi and two other bombers planned to attack rush-hour commuters to kill as many people as possible.

Both men had faced other charges in the case before Thursday.

Medunjanin has pleaded not guilty to charges he conspired to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. His lawyer, Robert C. Gottlieb, said earlier this week he didn’t know if Zazi told prosecutors anything about his client but Zazi’s decision to plead guilty “obviously affects the overall prosecution.”

Ahmedzay has pleaded not guilty to charges that he lied to the FBI during the probe about places he visited during the 2008 trip.

Zazi’s uncle, father and a Queens imam face lesser charges in the case.

Associated Press writer Pete Yost in Washington contributed to this report.

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