As "FBI agents across the United States were frantically trying to stop a terrorist attack," Mohammed Zazi told his family in Denver to destroy chemicals intended for making a bomb, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Goldsmith said in his opening statement in Brooklyn federal court, the New York Daily News reported.
"When the defendant learned Najibullah was a terrorist, he made choices to obstruct the government investigation to make it harder for the FBI to get the answers they desperately needed," Goldsmith said.
Mohammed Zazi is not accused of prior knowledge of the 2009 suicide bombing conspiracy.
Defense lawyer Justine Harris said: "On trial today is no terrorist, but a father."
She said a phone recording would show a shocked Mohammed Zazi questioning his son about the plot.
Najibullah Zazi, 26, pleaded guilty to terrorism charges and is in the government's witness protection program, the New York Post reported. He is expected to testify in his father's defense. The prosecution plans to call the defendant's nephew, Amanullah Zazi, and brother-in-law, Naquib Jaji.