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Queens Man Found Guilty of Subway Bomb Plot

By Nicholas Rizzi | May 2, 2012 10:53am
Adis Medunjanin was convicted of planning a subway bombing campaign.
Adis Medunjanin was convicted of planning a subway bombing campaign.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

BROOKLYN — A Queens man was found guilty of plotting a suicide bomb attack on New York City subways for senior al Qaeda members Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Adis Medunjanin, 28, a Bosnian-born U.S. citizen, faces a maximum of life in prison after being found guilty on nine charges at Brooklyn Federal Court.

The charges included conspiracy to carry out a suicide attack in America, getting military training from al Qaeda, and plotting to kill soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, Reuters said.

His accused co-conspirator, Najibullah Zazi, was arrested in September 2009, just days before the plot. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the plan "one of the most serious terrorist threats" since September 11, according to Reuters.

Medunjanin was accused as a third member of the subway plot, along with high school friends Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, both 27, who have already pleaded guilty to planning the bombing and are awaiting sentencing.

Medunjanin's mother and sister, both of which testified on behalf of him, were at the court during the verdict and refused to speak to reporters afterwards, Reuters said. Medunjanin raised a reassuring hand to his sobbing family during the verdict, Reuters said.

Prosecutors argued that Medunjanin was willing to carry out the subway attack after receiving orders from al Qaeda members he met in Pakistan in 2008. "

"What he was willing to do was to strap a suicide bomb to himself, walk into a New York City subway and blow it up," Assistant U.S. Attorney Berit Berger said in closing arguments last week, according to Reuters.

Medunjanin's defense lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, said he planned to appeal the verdict because of "some serious legal issues" he wanted to address, Reuters said.

Gottlieb said during closing statements that Medunjanin traveled to Pakistan to join the Taliban and seek revenge for perceived wrongs against Muslims, Reuters said.

Though he was under the influence of Al Qaeda propaganda, Medunjanin was not going to follow through with his friends' plan, Gottlieb told jurors, according to Reuters.

"Adis' intent was to fight and protect Muslims," Gottlieb said. "That was the extent of his formulated intent and plan in his own mind."

Sentencing was set for September 7.