Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Queens Man Gets Life in Prison for Thwarted Subway Terror Plot

By Jonathan Dienst and AP
|  Friday, Nov 16, 2012  |  Updated 10:35 PM EDT
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Man Convicted in Thwarted NYC Subway Bomb Plot

AP

In this photo provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn, N.Y., Adis Medunjanin is shown.

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Man Convicted in Thwarted NYC Subway Bomb Plot

The man accused in a suspected plot in 2009 to attack New York's subways with suicide bombs has been convicted. A jury found Adis Medunjanin guilty of all counts for his role in a terror plot that federal authorities say was one of the closest calls since Sept. 11, 2001. Lori Bordonaro reports.
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A Queens man has been sentenced to life behind bars for his role in a foiled suicide-bomb plot on New York City subways in 2008.

Adis Medunjanin received the sentence Friday in federal court in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors had accused Medunjanin and two high school classmates of receiving al-Qaida training in Pakistan before agreeing to strap on backpack bombs for a strike a few days before the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Judge John Gleeson told Medunjanin Friday that his crimes were "atrocious." 

“I still can’t comprehend it,” Gleeson said.

Medunjanin, a 28-year-old immigrant from Bosnia, said in court: "I had nothing to do with any subway plot or any bomb plot."

He did not deny other charges that he traveled overseas to train with Taliban and al-Qaida operatives, that he plotted to kill U.S. troops overseas, or that he tried to kill himself and others in a car crash as the FBI followed him down the Whitestone Expressway during the investigation.

“Adis Medunjanin sought martyrdom for himself and death for innocent New Yorkers as part of al-Qaida’s plan to spread terror within our shores,” said U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch. “Instead he will spend the rest of his life where he belongs, behind bars.”

Medunjanin recited prayers from the Koran during his sentencing. His relatives were in court and some wept.

Admitted mastermind Najibullah Zazi and another man both pleaded guilty and testified against him. Zazi testified against Medunjanin during the trial.

Medunjanin's attorney Robert Gottlieb said his client plans to appeal his conviction. Gleeson said he will recommend he serve his time at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan while the appeal process continues.

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