Self-admitted terrorist Zarein Ahmedzay testified Monday in the trial of his former high school classmate, Queens resident Adis Medunjanin, and said the suspect wanted to bomb the city's subway lines and kill U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan back in 2009.
During Monday's opening statements, prosecutors said Medunjanin, Zarein Ahmedzay, and a third high school classmate, Najibullah Zazi, received terror training from al-Qaida in Pakistan, gathered explosives, and chose their targets and planned dates for their attacks.
They said that Medunjanin wanted to strap on an explosive vest, travel into a crowded Manhattan subway station during rush hour and blow himself up, killing as many other people as possible.
Medunjanin has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and receiving terrorist training.
Zazi and Ahmedzay pleaded guilty to being terrorists and cut a deal with prosecutors, and they are testifying for the government against Medunjanin.
On Monday, Ahmedzay said his old friend from Flushing High school and Queens College was ready to kill and had talked about making a martyrdom video.
"I remember him saying he would mention he was doing the suicide mission of his own choice. And that he loved death more than he loved life," said Ahmedzay.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation says the subway plot was one of the most serious terrorism attempts in the city since September 11, 2001.
Prosecutors say when the FBI was close to arresting Medunjanin, he fled in his taxi and tried to kill himself and others on the Whitestone Expressway. They say he made a 911 call moments before the crash declaring his attempt at a holy war.
Defense attorneys, though, say he was only running for his life during the crash. They also argue the FBI was threatening to arrest him for something he did not do.
Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Medunjanin's attorney said the charges won't stick, as his client is a devout Muslim who has lived in Queens since he was eight years old.
"We're going to make it very clear. He's not a terrorist, the government is wrong, he's not guilty," said defense attorney Robert Gottlieb.
Jurors could hear from Zazi as early as Tuesday.
Medunjanin faces life in prison if convicted.