NEW YORK, Feb 1 (Reuters) - The father of an airport shuttle driver accused of plotting an al Qaeda-inspired bomb attack on New York City has been charged with conspiring to alter, destroy and conceal evidence in the case.
The indictment against Mohammed Wali Zazi was unsealed by Brooklyn federal prosecutors on Monday.
Zazi, 53, pleaded not guilty to separate charges filed last year of lying to the FBI agents investigating his son, Najibullah Zazi, 24, last year in Denver.
The elder Zazi was to appear at federal court in Denver on Monday and prosecutors were expected to seek his transfer to New York.
If convicted of the charge -- conspiracy to obstruct justice -- he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Mohammed Zazi is accused of conspiring alter, destroy and conceal objects, including liquid chemicals, “with the intent to impair the objects’ integrity and availability for use in an official proceeding.”
Najibullah Zazi, a former coffee vendor who had moved to Colorado, was arrested in September and accused of plotting a bomb attack in New York City on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. He has pleaded not guilty.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called it one of the most serious security threats to the United States since the hijacked airliner attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
A New York imam and two men who attended a New York City high school with Zazi also have been charged. All have pleaded not guilty.
According to press reports, Najibullah Zazi’s uncle, Naqib Jaji, 38, also has been charged in the case and is reported to have pleaded not guilty to one felony count. (Reporting by Edith Honan, editing by Michelle Nichols and Bill Trott)