A 21-year-old Bangladesh national faces life in prison after entering a guilty plea in federal court Thursday in a plot to blow up the Federal Reserve in Lower Manhattan last year. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
In a soft, quiet voice Quazi Nafis pleaded guilty Thursday in Brooklyn federal court to plotting to blow up the Federal Reserve Building in Lower Manhattan.
He was arrested back in October.
Speaking to reporters afterward, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said Nafis came to the country in January 2011 with a specific intention, adding, "He came here with the intent not to study but to commit violent jihad. Once here he refined his plan."
The 21-year-old native of Bangladesh admitted he tried to detonate what he believed was a 1,000-pound bomb inside a van parked outside the Federal Reserve located at 33 Liberty Street.
He tried to set it off using a cell phone from a nearby hotel.
"At every opportunity this defendant showed his determination and his commitment to this plan, a plan he admitted here in court today," Lynch said.
The device was actually a fake, supplied by an undercover agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The agency was tipped off by an informant after Nafis tried to enlist others in his plot.
"He was reaching out through social media, Facebook and others trying to find individuals who were saying similar things, had similar thoughts to see if they could be recruited to join his plan," Lynch noted.
The U.S. Attorney said Nafis was seeking the approval of al-Qaida for his plot but in court he expressed remorse saying he deeply regretted his actions and that he no longer believes in violent jihad.
His lawyer said she hopes people believe him.
"He pled guilty because he is guilty and he wants to demonstrate full acceptance of responsibility for his behavior and he is deeply and sincerely sorry for what he did," said Defense Attorney Heidi Cesare.
Nafis faces a life sentence in prison when he is sentenced on May 30.