A man who admitted discussing plans to explode bombs in Times Square and other New York locations received a 10-year prison sentence Monday for conspiring with others, including his older brother, to support a terrorist organization.
Nader Saadeh had faced a maximum of 15 years but received a lighter sentence because his cooperation helped the government prosecute four other men, including his older brother, Alaa.
One of the others, former New York resident Munther Omar Saleh, was making plans to detonate bombs in Times Square and at the World Trade Center and the Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in Queens, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Carletta said in court Monday.
Saleh also pleaded guilty and is serving an 18-year sentence.
At Nader Saadeh’s plea hearing in 2015, he acknowledged looking at diagrams for making the bombs and discussing plans to use them at the New York locations.
At the time of his 2015 arrest, prosecutors said the former Rutherford resident had recently traveled to the Middle East to join the Islamic State group but was detained in Jordan and held there before being returned to the U.S.
Nader Saadeh, then 19, “was the guinea pig” of the group who went to the Middle East at the urging of the others, his attorney, Frank Arleo, told U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton on Monday.
“I don’t know if the other guys were ever going to go,” Arleo said. “They sent Nader to be the test case.”
Citing Nader Saadeh’s cooperation, prosecutors had sought a sentence of 10 to 12 years. Arleo had sought a sentence of about seven years.
Another defendant, Samuel Rahamin Topaz, also of Fort Lee, pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday.
From 2012 to 2013, Nader Saadeh expressed his hatred for the United States and his wish to form a small army, prosecutors said. After the Islamic State group’s leader declared an Islamic caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq in July 2014, authorities said, Saadeh posted images of the group’s flags on Facebook.
Prosecutors alleged the Saadeh brothers had numerous meetings and exchanged text messages and phone calls with Topaz and Saleh, who was a college student in New York at the time.
As we noted in a post about his brother being convicted, New Jersey: Muslim pleads guilty to Islamic terror charges
The Saadeh brothers, who are both American-born, grew up in Fort Lee after their parents were deported to Jordan over a credit card fraud case, say law enforcement sources.
Again, it all leads back to immigration. The parents were Muslim immigrants who caught in a credit card fraud racket. Had they not been allowed into the U.S., these particular jihadis would not have been our problem.