DOJ Releases Najibullah Zazi Complaints and Warrants
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado has released the arrest warrants and complaints for Najibullah Zazi, his father Mohammed Zazi and a third individual, Ahmad Wais Afzali, charged in the Eastern District of New York, along with a press release. They are charged with making false statements related to international or domestic terrorism, which carries a maximum penalty of 8 years. (See 18 USC 1001 (a)(2). Here are the documents:
- Najibullah Zazi Warrant and Complaint
- Mohammed Zazi Warrant and Complaint
- Ahmad Wais Afzali Warrant and Complaint
- Press Release
Interestingly, the Afzali complaint has more details about Najibullah than the Najibullah complaint. The Afzali complaint says that Najibullah had a proffer agreement with the feds for his interviews. And, it says Najibullah told the feds he took courses at an al-Qaida training facility in Pakistan and received instruction from al-Qaida operatives in weapons and explosives. [More...]
Turns out Afzali was allegedly working both sides of the fence. He had been an informant for the NYPD. After they asked about Najibullah and showed him his photo, he told Mohammed Zazi about it. Mohammed called his son (then in NY) and told him to speak to Afzali. While Mohammed and Najibullah were still on the phone, Afzali called Najibullah and they discussed the cops' interest in him.
Since the feds had wires up, they intercepted all these calls. They then called Afzali in for an interview about his calls with the Zazis. Afzali told the feds (in a written statement no less, after waiving his Miranda rights) he spoke to both of them but denied or omitted some details of the conversations. Result: A false statement charge for Afzali.
When they quizzed Mohammed about whether he had spoken to Afzali, Mohammed denied it and denied knowing anyone named Afzali. Result: A false statement charge for Mohammed.
Najibullah's complaint charges him with making some false statements about handwritten notes found on his laptop that contained details about making explosives. The feds think he may have written the notes. Najibullah told them he had never seen the notes and hadn't written them. If they were on his computer, he said he probably downloaded them by mistake and deleted them.
The Government is seeking detention for Najibullah Zazi but will agree to bond for Mohammed Zazi. They will appear in court on Monday.
Bottom line: I think it was a disasterous decision for Najibullah to voluntarily talk to the feds. He had no idea what information they had. Had he kept his mouth shut, there would be no false statement charge. If he's convicted of the false statement charge, he will be deported after he serves any sentence. (His father is a U.S. citizen.) If his goal in talking was to clear his name, that certainly failed. If it was to get a sweetheart deal, that seems to have backfired too.
I have a hearing in one of my federal cases Monday morning, and if it's not at the same time as the Zazis', I'll try to attend it as well.
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