A federal judge in Brooklyn yesterday delayed sentencing so that a psychiatric exam can be conducted on the Bangladeshi student caught plotting to bomb the Federal Reserve bank in Manhattan last year.
Alleged al-Qaida aspirant Quazi Mohammad Nafis, 21, faces up to life in prison. His defense lawyers requested the examination although he pleaded guilty earlier this year. Its results could be used to urge U.S. District Judge Carol Amon to impose a more lenient sentence based on mental factors that may have influenced Nafis.
"We're not alleging he's not competent, and he's pleaded guilty in order to take responsibility for his actions," said lawyer Heidi Cesare. "We've requested a forensic psychiatric evaluation because we think the judge needs to be fully informed and know as much as she can before she sentences Mr. Nafis."
Nafis, a banker's son who came to the United States on a student visa, hooked up with an FBI informant while looking for accomplices on the Internet, and eventually targeted the Federal Reserve. As part of a sting, he was allowed to drive a truck he believed held a live 1,000-pound bomb to the bank, and tried to detonate it with a cellphone.
Amon scheduled the sentencing for Aug. 9.