(CNN) — A New York imam who pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents as they investigated an alleged terror plot left the United States on Monday as part of his plea deal, a government spokesman and the imam’s attorney told CNN.
Imam Ahmad Afzali and his wife left on a 2 p.m. flight to live in Saudi Arabia, said Afzali’s attorney, Ron Kuby.
A government spokesman confirmed Afzali’s departure.
After his guilty plea earlier this year for lying to federal agents in the case involving Najibullah Zazi’s alleged subway bombing plan in New York City, Afzali had 90 days to “self-deport” from the United States and was required to wear an ankle monitor until his departure, according to Kuby. The ankle monitor was removed before Monday’s flight, Kuby said.
“Imam Afzali is did his best to assist authorities when they asked for his help,” said Kuby, who claimed Afzali was the victim of a turf war between the New York Police Department and FBI over the terrorism investigation.
I sentence you to life in… Saudi Arabia:
“For his part, he leaves the United States with great sadness and no bitterness,” Kuby said. “The United States is the only home that he knows; this country remains home to his parents, his children, and his brothers.”
Zazi and two other suspects planned to attack trains at New York City’s Times Square and Grand Central stations, according to a law enforcement source.
Afzali, a Muslim cleric and funeral director from the New York borough of Queens, was originally charged in a four-count indictment in the Zazi case.
He pleaded guilty to one charge of lying about whether he tipped off Zazi that the FBI had been asking questions about Zazi’s activities. Zazi subsequently pleaded guilty to conspiring to detonate explosives in the United States….