Arthur Folsom, attorney for Najibullah Zazi, 24, talked briefly to reporters Monday outside Denver’s Alfred A. Arraj U.S. Courthouse. Law Wek video by Don Knox.
By Peter Rossi, LAW WEEK COLORADO
DENVER — Two Aurora men appeared in court on Monday on charges of lying to federal authorities in a case that alleges a national bombing plot. Monday’s hearing saw one of the men switch attorneys and informed he could be released from jail but monitored electronically.
Najibullah Zazi and his father, Mohammed Zazi, showed up in the clothes they were arrested in Saturday night. U.S. Magistrate Judge Craig Shaffer advised the father and son of the charges alleged, and he said the charges could carry a maximum eight years in prison.
Shaffer said he would release Mohammed Zazi on $50,000 bail, and U.S. Attorney Dave Gaouette, flanked by two assistant U.S. attorneys and a Department of Justice attorney, did not protest. But Mohammed Zazi’s house is not deemed ready for electronic monitoring, which could take up to 48 hours, so he will likely stay in custody until Thursday morning.
Denver attorney Art Folsom asked to continue representing Najibullah Zazi but requested that the court appoint a public defender for Zazi’s father. Shaffer agreed that Mohammed Zazi qualified for such representation and appointed a federal public defender, Warren Williamson.
During the rest of the hearing, Williamson answered all queries directed to Mohammed Zazi. Williamson requested a Pashtun interpreter for any future appearance made by his client, and both the U.S. attorneys and Shaffer agreed.
A bail hearing was set for Najibullah Zazi, 24, for 9 a.m. Thursday. The 53-year-old Mohammed Zazi will have a detention hearing then to determine if his home is fit for the electronic monitoring device.
The two men were arrested Saturday during an investigation into a plot to detonate homemade bombs throughout the United States. Federal agents claim Najibullah Zazi admitted to al-Qaeda training and had notes on his laptop on how to construct a bomb. The Zazis have been in Denver County Jail since their arrest. Neither has been charged with terrorism.