NEW YORK — One of the two men accused of plotting to bomb a New York City synagogue proclaimed his innocence in a jailhouse interview and blamed his legal troubles on being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Terror suspect Mohamed Mamdouh told the New York Daily News in an interview published Saturday that he wasn't involved in the reputed plot by his co-defendant, Ahmed Ferhani, who he described as a drinking buddy and casual acquaintance, rather than a friend.
"I don't have problems with anyone. Not Jews, not anyone," he said Friday. The 20-year-old told the newspaper that Ferhani "was the one who was talking about all the weapons and everything else."
"I never spoke about guns and blowing things up, either," Mamdouh said. "That was him. It was all his idea. I had nothing to do with any of it."
The two New Yorkers were arrested Wednesday after Ferhani was caught in a police sting trying to buy guns, ammunition and a hand grenade. Police and prosecutors said they laid the trap after an undercover investigator who had befriended the pair recorded Ferhani talking attacking a city synagogue and maybe the Empire State Building.
In his interview at the city's Rikers Island jail complex, Mamdouh told the Daily News it all stemmed from a day when he, Ferhani and the undercover officer were hanging out, watching a British documentary about ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers in the Palestinian territories.
"I was drunk," Mamdouh said. "We had a conversation after the movie was over ... It was just a conversation. It was not serious."
He told the newspaper that Ferhani "has anger issues," and "gets mad and says things," but said he didn't believe he would ever actually kill anyone.
Through his lawyer, Ferhani has also said he was innocent of any terror plot.
The two are facing the possibility of life in prison.
Information from: Daily News, http://www.nydailynews.com