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New York bomb plotter's father faces new charges

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Attorney asks that "the public withhold judgment until the facts are revealed"
  • Mohammed Zazi charged with obstruction of justice and witness tampering
  • Prosecutors add charges for father of would-be bomber Najibullah Zazi
  • Younger man pleaded guilty to a plot to detonate explosives in New York's subway system

New York (CNN) -- Federal prosecutors slapped the father of would-be terrorist bomber Najibullah Zazi with additional charges Tuesday, according to a statement from the U.S. District Court of Eastern New York.

Mohammed Zazi, who had faced a single charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice, is now confronted with seven more charges that include obstruction of justice, witness tampering and visa fraud

If convicted, the 54-year-old Colorado man could face a maximum life sentence in prison.

He will appear in court for arraignment December 9.

"[This] does not change anything from our perspective," said Zazi's defense attorney, Deborah Colson. "Mr. Zazi intends to plead not guilty next week."

Colson asked that "the public withhold judgment until the facts are revealed."

Federal prosecutors say Zazi conspired with others to "alter, destroy, mutilate and conceal ... glasses, masks, liquid chemicals and containers" with the intent "to impair the objects' integrity and availability for use in one or more official proceedings."

His son, a native of Afghanistan who worked as an airport shuttle driver in Colorado, pleaded guilty in February to a plot to detonate explosives in New York's subway system in September 2009.

The younger Zazi admitted his role in the conspiracy, saying, "In spring 2008, I conspired with others to join the Taliban, to fight along with the Taliban against the United States.

"We were recruited to al Qaeda instead," he said.

While at a terrorist training camp in northwest Pakistan's Waziristan region along the Afghan border, Najibullah Zazi "had discussions with al Qaeda about targets including the New York City subway system," he said.

The younger Zazi said he learned how to make explosives at the camp, later pleading guilty to conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and providing material support to a terrorist organization.

Since Zazi's arrest, two of his acquaintances have been indicted in the case, as well as Zazi's father and uncle.