Twenty years for driver who plotted to destroy Brooklyn Bridge

| Thursday, October 30, 2003

An Ohio truck driver who admitted six months ago he plotted with senior operatives of al Qaida to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge was sentenced Oct. 28 to 20 years in prison, The New York Times reported.

Minutes before the sentencing, the driver, Iyman Faris, 34, tried to withdraw his earlier guilty plea, saying he had admitted a role in the plot only to secure a book deal for himself.

"I'm innocent," Faris said.

But the judge was not persuaded. The sentence was the maximum allowable under a plea agreement that Faris, a native of Pakistan who came to the United States in 1994 and became a citizen in 1999, signed with prosecutors last May.

Prosecutors said in court pleadings that Faris traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan in late 2000 and met with Osama bin Laden and other senior al Qaida leaders, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, now regarded as a key planner of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.