Mohammad Zazi, terrorist's dad, asked by judge: "What wouldn't a parent do for a child?"

Mohammed Zazi was reaching for the American dream -- and wound up in a nightmare. A native of Afghanistan, he'd emigrated to the United States, driving a taxi to support his family and becoming an American citizen in October 2007. Two years later, his son, Najibullah Zazi, was accused of plotting a terrorist attack on America. And on Friday, the elder

Zazi was sentenced

to four and a half years in prison for lying to protect his son.

He could have been sentenced for up to forty years; a jury had convicted Mohammed in July 2011 of destroying evidence and lying to investigators looking into Nabjibullah Zazi's to attack the New York City subway with homemade bombs made from beauty-supply shop products he'd bought in Aurora.

Zazi's lawyers had asked for probation. And despite his son's confession to his role in the "martyrdom operation" in February 2010, Mohammed Zazi told the court Friday that he did not think his son had plotted an attack. "I believe that my son was pressured," he said in Pashto. "I don't think that he was involved in any wrongdoing. I am sorry."

So was U.S. District Judge John Gleeson, who asked, "What wouldn't a parent do for a child?" before sentencing Mohammed Zazi, according to this AP report. But even so, when he was protecting his child, he was also protecting someone involved in a terrorism investigation, and "when someone is going to bomb the New York City subway system, every lie matters," the judge continued.

In addition to the four-and-a-half years behind bars, Gleeson also sentenced Mohammed Zazi to another six months for lying on a nephew's immigration documents, calling him a son. That nephew wound up testifying against Zazi in his trial.

An American dream turned nightmare.

Remember Jihad Jamie? For other examples of terrorism hitting close to home, click to read "9/11 anniversary: Top 10 terrorists with Colorado connections."

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