updated 11/2/2009 1:49:35 PM ET 2009-11-02T18:49:35

An imam has pleaded not guilty to charges he lied to FBI agents investigating an Afghan immigrant who was later accused of plotting a terror attack in New York City.

Ahmad Afzali was arraigned Monday in federal court in Brooklyn. He was arrested in September amid an investigation of Colorado airport van driver Najibullah Zazi.

Zazi has been accused of receiving training from al-Qaida to build homemade bombs in a possible plot to attack the New York transit system.

Prosecutors allege the 53-year-old Afzali telephoned Zazi after being questioned by police and told Zazi he was under surveillance. They say he then lied by claiming he never tipped off Zazi.

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