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Sentencing set for LIer who became al-Qaida operative

A federal judge in Brooklyn on Tuesday, Nov.

A federal judge in Brooklyn on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, set an April 20 sentencing date for Bryant Neal Vinas, 33, of Patchogue. Vinas, seen in an undated photo, became an al-Qaida operative and then a federal informant after his capture, authorities said. Credit: /

A federal judge in Brooklyn on Tuesday set an April 20 sentencing date for Bryant Neal Vinas, the Long Island man who became an al-Qaida operative and then a federal informant after his capture.

Vinas, 33, of North Patchogue, went to Pakistan in 2007 to participate in jihad, was caught and turned over to the FBI in 2008, and pleaded guilty secretly in 2009 to aiding a rocket attack on U.S. troops and supplying information to al-Qaida on city subways and the Long Island Rail Road.

He testified in Brooklyn at the trial of a man charged with plotting an attack on the subways, provided evidence for European terrorism cases, and also provided information that has never made it into court or become public, according to his defense lawyer.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis has called it one of his “most difficult” sentencings because of the seriousness of Vinas’ crimes and the significance of his cooperation, and has told prosecutors he wants broad access to classified information relating to the cooperation.

The next court appearance in the case was scheduled for Jan. 20.

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