Imam expected to plead guilty in Zazi terror case

Najibullah Zazi has been charged with conspiring to detonate bombs in New York City.

March 2, 2010 8:46:12 AM PST
A Queens imam charged with lying to investigators in the Zazi terrorism investigation may plead guilty when he appears in federal court in Downtown Brooklyn this afternoon. Prosecutors say 37-year-old Ahmad Wais Afzali will appear for a late afternoon status conference. He is charged with four counts of making false statements, which carries up to eight years in prison.

Afzali was arrested in September as federal authorities tried to thwart the alleged plot by Najibullah Zazi, a Colorado airport van driver they say received explosives training from al-Qaida on a trip to Pakistan.

Detectives tried to gather information about Zazi from Afzali, who was an imam in the Queens neighborhood where Zazi once lived.

The next day, Afzali called Zazi, telling him, "They asked about you guys," according to court papers.

Prosecutors allege that the imam lied in a statement denying he had tipped off Zazi.