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Pakistani man gets 40 years for NYC subway terror plot

A federal jury in Brooklyn convicted Abid Naseer in March. He was sentenced Tuesday, November 24, 2015.

Jane Rosenberg

A Pakistani man was sentenced to 40 years in prison Tuesday for his role in a failed al Qaeda bomb plot targeting sites in Europe and the United states, including the New York City subway system.

Abid Naseer, 29, is the eighth defendant to be charged in this case, CBS News' Paula Reid reports. Prosecutors say the planned attack was directed and coordinated with senior Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan and also involved other targets in Europe.

"I know you're not what I'd say, for any lack of a better word, a 'typical' criminal. Not in any sense of the word. You're a terrorist," U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie told Naseer when announcing the sentence, Reuters reported.

In March, Naseer was found guilty after a New York trial that featured spies in disguise, evidence from the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound and the defendant's questioning of an admitted co-conspirator.

Naseer was first arrested in 2009 in Great Britain on charges he was part of a terror cell plotting to blow up a shopping mall in Manchester, England. The charges were dropped after a British court found there wasn't enough evidence, but U.S. prosecutors later named him in an indictment that alleged a broader conspiracy that included a failed plot to attack the New York City subway.

After his rearrest and extradition to the United States in 2013, Naseer pleaded not guilty to providing and conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda and conspiring to use a destructive device.

He acted as his own lawyer, often referring to himself in the third person as he set about portraying himself as a moderate Muslim who was falsely accused. He was assisted by a court-appointed attorney but largely spoke for himself and demonstrated a calm demeanor in court.

"Abid is innocent," Naseer said in closing arguments on Monday. "He is not a terrorist. He is not an al Qaeda operative."

Naseer's self-representation created the spectacle of the defendant cross-examining an admitted terrorist. Five British Mi5 secret agents also testified wearing disguises - one wore a fake beard and thick black glasses - and the trial marked the first time documents recovered in the 2009 Navy SEAL raid against Osama bin Laden's compound were used as trial evidence.