Defense Wants Case Against Bronx Bomb Plot Suspects Thrown Out
Defense lawyers in the trial of four men charged with plotting to blow up synagogues in the Bronx requested the case by dropped Monday, citing testimony by the government's main witness. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
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The government says the so-called "Newburgh Four" thought they were carrying C-4 bombs and a missile launcher when they were arrested in May 2009.
On Monday, pictures of the phony weapons were shown in court while FBI informant Shahed Hussain was back on the stand.
Hussain has been testifying for weeks about the alleged plot to bomb synagogues in Riverdale, and shoot down military planes at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh. But the defense is asking the judge to throw out the case, claiming the witness has lied repeatedly during the trial and that the government knows it.
"On many, many levels it is gripping and overwhelming," said Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.
Weiss says he's been following the case, and sat in the courtroom Monday during the trial of James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams, and Laguerre Payen.
While defense lawyers say the four were entrapped by the FBI's informant, Weiss says they should be convicted.
"Whatever the defense argument is, you put the bombs there, you thought it was real. Your intent was to do things that were very, very destructive. You got to pay the price," Weiss said.
Defense lawyers are also annoyed that the U.S. Attorney's office gave them hundreds of pages of new material this past Saturday night. The material reportedly deals with the financial background of the informant, and defense lawyers say they should have had it months ago.
Members of the defense team say they're now under pressure to go through the new paperwork quickly.
The judge told them they have until Wednesday afternoon when she wants the informant back on the stand.