4 US men plead not guilty in terror plot case
Four men charged with plotting to kill Americans by aiding terrorists in Afghanistan have pleaded not guilty to a conspiracy count in a U.S. court.
A federal judge in Riverside, Calif., set an Aug. 6 trial date for the men after they made their first joint appearance in court Wednesday.
Three of the men — Ralph Deleon, Arifeen Gojail and Miguel Santana Vidriales — previously pleaded guilty. But they had to re-enter their pleas when prosecutors added to the indictment a Southern California man suspected of being the ringleader of the plot.
The government accuses Sohiel Omar Kabir of Pomona of inviting his co-defendants to visit his native Afghanistan and meet with terrorists. Gojali, Deleon and Santana were arrested the day they were suspected of leaving to meet Kabir in Afghanistan.
Two Pakistanis arrested for plotting Christmas bombing in NYC
A Pakistani-born Florida resident and his brother plotted to blow up a NYC landmark, but were too broke to actually pull it off, federal prosecutors asserted yesterday.
Raees Alam Qazi, a naturalized U.S. citizen since 2006 who attended public schools in Florida, was arrested on November 29th along with brother, Sheheryar Alam Qazi. "Raees Alam Qazi's plans were aspirational," an FBI spokesman tells ABC News. "He had no specific plan or targets identified to carry out an attack."
According to prosecutors, Raees Qazi, 20, tried to relocate to NYC last month, just another dreamer on a mission to commit acts of terrorism to avenge U.S. drone attacks. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Gilbert says the dream curdled after he failed to find a job.
He wound up sleeping in public transportation stations and spending his days riding a bicycle around NYC doing reconnaissance. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah Steve Cuozzo and Marcia Kramer! After a few days Qazi took a bus back to Florida, where he was arrested upon arrival.
At a bail hearing yesterday, Gilbert said Raees Qazi, an avid Inspire magazine reader, had "bomb-making and related components" in his family's Florida home, and his computer was used to research bomb building.
He allegedly intended to stage a suicide attack "or a remote-control device to kill people in a crowded place such as New York’s Times Square, a Broadway theater or perhaps on Wall Street," the Associated Press reports. His brother, the feds say, "provided financial and logistic support," which apparently wasn't enough. New York City is freaking expensive!
Qazi and his brother were charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Raees Qazi’s attorney tried to persuade the judge to allow his release on bail yesterday, noting that "Qazi had made money by selling bicycles on the Internet, had no criminal past and had already relinquished his passport."
But bail was denied—the judge declared, "He wanted to carry out an attack. If he is released from custody, he will." Provided he can finally get that Capital One card approved.