Associated Press on April 16, 2012 released the following:
“NYC Man Faces Terror Trial
By TOM HAYS
There’s no dispute that Adis Medunjanin and two of his former high school classmates from Queens packed up and traveled together to Pakistan in 2008.
But federal prosecutors say the three were homegrown Muslim extremists who, under al-Qaida’s tutelage, came back to the United States and hatched a foiled plot to attack the New York City subways as suicide bombers. Lawyers for Medunjanin claim he never was a threat.
A jury is set to hear both sides Monday in opening statements at Medunjanin’s trial in federal court in Brooklyn.
Medunjanin, 27, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, providing material support to a terrorist organization and other charges in what U.S. officials have described as one of the most chilling terror conspiracies since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Childhood friends Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay have admitted in guilty pleas that they wanted to avenge U.S. aggression in the Arab world by becoming martyrs. Both could be called by the government to testify against Medunjanin.
Another possible witness is Bryant Neal Vinas, a Long Island man who joined al-Qaida around the same time as the other men. Officials have credited Vinas with providing key intelligence about the terror group since his capture in 2008.
Jurors also are expected to hear evidence that following his arrest, Medunjanin told the FBI he had become a more devout Muslim about four years before the plot was exposed after he and Zazi began spending time together at a local mosque, FBI reports say. He also recalled being influenced by tapes of U.S.-born extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, they say.
In 2008, Medunjanin and his friends decided to join the Taliban and fight U.S. soldiers in retaliation for the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, the FBI reports say. The three instead were recruited by al-Qaida operatives, who gave them weapons training in their Pakistan camp and asked them to become suicide bombers, they say.
Medunjanin told his al-Qaida handlers “he had prayed but still wasn’t sure if he was ready to be a martyr,” the reports say. He later was sent home on his own, the reports add, after he told them “the best thing for him to do … was to return to the U.S. and provide financial support” for the terror network.
Zazi, after relocating to the Denver area, got as far as cooking up explosives and setting out by car for New York City in September 2009 to carry out the attack. He was arrested after abandoning the plan and fleeing back to Colorado.
The FBI reports say Medunjanin denied knowing what Zazi was up to. And the defense has claimed he spoke to the FBI under duress.
In a sworn statement, the defendant accused agents of making veiled threats against his family and denying him access to his attorney for 36 hours. Federal authorities insist his statements were voluntary.”
Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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