The leader of a foiled attempt to carry out a massive suicide bombing in New York City’s subways in 2009 deserves “extraordinary” credit for the last decade he’s spent cooperating with authorities, prosecutors wrote ahead of his Thursday sentencing.
Prosecutors say Najibullah Zazi “provided critical intelligence and unique insight regarding al Qaeda and its members, provided information that led to terrorism charges against numerous individuals, and testified as a witness in two terrorism trials in the Eastern District of New York, leading to successful criminal prosecutions and convictions.”
Zazi, who was born in Afghanistan but raised in Queens, joined al Qaeda after becoming disillusioned with the U.S. military’s presence in Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks, the documents say.
He returned to the U.S. after undergoing militant training in Pakistan, but flipped after he was arrested in 2010 following a trip to New York with bomb-making materials.
In their sentencing submission, prosecutors say they’ve met with the man more than 100 times, and he has cooperated “at great personal cost to himself and his family.”
While prosecutors acknowledge that sentencing guidelines would land Zazi behind bars for a life sentence, they encourage Brooklyn federal court judge Raymond Dearie to consider giving him a less time due to his “substantial assistance” and contributions in a number of cases.
His sentencing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
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