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Flushing terrorist’s father pleads not guilty to new counts

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The father of a former Flushing man who pleaded guilty in February to planning to bomb New York City subway stations to coincide with Sept. 11, 2009, pleaded not guilty Thursday to a string of new charges.

Mohammed Wali Zazi, 54, father of admitted terrorist Najibullah Zazi, was hit last week with eight new charges, including four counts of obstruction of justice, two counts of material false statements, and one count each of witness tampering and visa fraud for his alleged role in the coverup of his son’s terror-planning activities, according to the Nov. 30 indictment.

During a status conference in federal court in Brooklyn Thursday, he denied the charges, according to Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

“He pleaded not guilty and was released on bail,” Nardoza said.

Mohammed Zazi, a former Flushing resident arrested Feb. 1 in his current home state of Colorado, pleaded not guilty earlier this year to conspiring with others to get rid of chemicals and other items involved in the plot by his son and others to blow up bombs on subway stations in New York City. Federal prosecutors said in October that they planned to charge him with additional counts when they were unable to reach a deal with him.

Adis Medunjanin, a Flushing resident charged with conspiring with Zazi to bomb the subway system, filed a motion to suppress statements he made to federal agents following his January arrest after crashing his car on the Whitestone Expressway.

“We haven’t filed, I think we have until Jan to file a response to that motion,” Nardoza said.

Medunjanin pleaded not guilty Aug. 6 to charges against him and five alleged members of al-Qaeda in connection with the terror plot.

His lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, contends that he was denied access to Medunjanin for more than 36 hours after he was arrested and that during those hours Medunjanin was improperly coerced and pressured by agents of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, including FBI agents.

“While Mr. Gottlieb attempted to find and speak with Mr. Medunjanin, members of the JTTF interrogated Mr. Medunjanin in spite of the fact that they knew he was represented by counsel,” the motion said.

While he was being interrogated Medunjanin signed a waiver of speedy arraignment, which Gottlie said should be thrown out, along with other rights he waived.

“Mr. Medunjanin’s waivers of his right to remain silent, to counsel, and to a speedy presentment were not made knowingly and voluntarily,” the motion said. “The statements that followed the invalid waiver must be suppressed, or a hearing must be held.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

Updated 6:14 pm, October 10, 2011
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