An Afghanistan-born imam linked to the suspects in an aborted suicide bomb plot against New York City subway stations faces up to six months in prison.
Ahmad Afzali, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in a deal sparing him serious jail time, was scheduled for sentencing Thursday in Brooklyn. He will be required to leave the country after completing the sentence or face deportation.
Afzali was arrested in September as federal authorities scrambled to thwart a plot by Najibullah Zazi, a Colorado airport van driver who is the case's principal suspect. Afzali has said that he had wanted to help authorities, but lied under grilling by the FBI about his phone conversations with Zazi.
Zazi has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with investigators. Prosecutors hope he can help them trace the plot back to its roots in Pakistan, where Zazi and former high school friends allegedly traveled in 2008 to seek terror training.
After returning to the United States, the plotters allegedly hoped to detonate bombs on trains at two of the city's biggest subway stations: Times Square and Grand Central Terminal, according to two officials. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details of the investigation.
Zazi admitted that he tested bomb-making materials in a Denver suburb before traveling by car to New York intending to attack the subway system to avenge U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan.
Two other men suspected of direct roles in the plot, Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay, have pleaded not guilty to charges they sought to join Zazi in what prosecutors described as "three coordinated suicide bombing attacks" on Manhattan subway lines. The alleged attacks were timed for days after the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorism.
Prosecutors say the attacks were modeled after the July 2005 bombings on the London transit system. Four suicide bombers killed 52 people and themselves in an attack on three subway trains and a bus in London.
The alleged New York plot was disrupted in early September when police stopped Zazi's car as it entered New York.
Another suspect was recently arrested in Pakistan, law enforcement officials said Monday.
Associated Press writers Devlin Barrett in Washington and Tom Hays in New York contributed to this report.
© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.