NEW YORK — A prosecutor told jurors Thursday that a U.S. citizen went to Pakistan in 2008 with two others determined to kill American troops in Afghanistan, but a defense lawyer said the men were “immature, naïve and clueless” and easily manipulated by both al-Qaida and U.S. investigators.
Both versions of Adis Medunjanin’s trip abroad were offered during closing arguments before a federal jury in Brooklyn begins deliberating the fate of the Bosnian-born Muslim who became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Medunjanin is charged with nine crimes, including conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction and conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaida by prosecutors who say he returned to New York weeks after he left to begin planning a martyrdom operation to set off explosives in the city’s subway.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Berit Berger said Medunjanin and the other two men quickly ditched their original plan to fight for the Taliban against Americans in Afghanistan when they connected with al-Qaida operatives in Pakistan who wanted them to return to America on a terrorism mission.
“This is Terrorism 101,” she said. “The goal of this conspiracy was to kill as many people as possible.”
Medunjanin has pleaded not guilty to charges he became an al-Qaida operative who discussed bombing movie theaters, Grand Central Terminal, Times Square and the New York Stock Exchange before settling on the city’s subways.