Father of Najibullah Zazi Convicted at Obstruction Trial
Mohammed Wali Zazi, father of admitted terrorist Najibullah Zazi, was convicted by a federal jury in Brooklyn today of two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of conspiring to obstruct justice by lying to investigators and the grand jury and destroying or hiding evidence to cover up his son's aborted plan to place bombs in the New York subway system.
The case featured the testimony of two other family members who pleaded guilty and agreed to testify for the government to stave off stiff prison terms. They detailed the family's failure to acknowledge Zazi as a budding terrorist and its clumsy attempts to protect him once his plot fell apart.
The defense argued the two relatives of Zazi, who testified against him in exchange for leniency for their own participation, were lying. In the jury instructions they submitted to the Court, the defense argued the government did not accuse Mr. Zazi of destroying any physical evidence himself and conceded he was not even present during the alleged destruction. (They said the government’s theory was that Mr. Zazi aided and abetted others' destruction of physical evidence and that he wasn't guilty of aiding and abetting because Mr. Zazi did not share the specific intent of those who physically committed the crime.) [More..]
The defense also wanted the jury instructed that perjury alone wasn't enough to convict Zazi of obstruction. (“[A]n obstruction of justice prosecution cannot rest solely on the allegation or proof of perjury; rather, what also must additionally be proven is that the false statements given, in some way, either obstructed or were intended to obstruct the due administration of justice.")
The government prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Zazi willfully and knowingly gave false information with the specific intent to obstruct a pending judicial proceeding and that Mr. Zazi had knowledge that his actions were likely to affect that particular judicial proceeding.
...If Mr. Zazi lacked knowledge that his statements would be repeated or conveyed during the official proceedings or that his statements were likely to affect the judicial proceedings in any other way, he lacked the requisite intent to obstruct the due administration of justice
Zazi also wanted to argue that the Government prosecuted him to put pressure on his son to cooperate. The Government objected, and the Court ruled in favor of the Government.
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