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Four Men in New York Bomb Plot Trial Found Guilty

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on October 20, 2010 7:17 AM

Four men charged with a 2009 New York bomb plot have been found guilty by a federal jury after eight days of deliberations. Reuters reports that the men were found guilty of placing explosives outside of New York synagogues and plotting to shoot down military aircraft.

James Cromite, David Williams, Onta Williams, and Lague Payen all face a minimum of twenty five years in prison. The men were found guilty on seven of the eight charges levied against them. The jury was split on the final count: attempt to kill officers and employees of the United States. Reuters quotes Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara: "Homegrown terrorism is a serious threat, and today's convictions affirm our commitment to do what we can to protect it. The defendant's in this case agreed to plant bombs and use missles they thought were real weapons of terrorism."

The case is much more complicated than initially meets the eye. To their defense, all four men claim that they were entrapped by the government in a plan that ultimately had the men placing FBI-created fake explosives outside a Bronx synagogue. The FBI informant had promised the four men money and cars in exchange for their terrorism services. The fact that the bombs and plans were never going to be fully executed is not a factor in the viability of an entrapment defense.

So were these men actually entrapped by the government? The defense of entrapment requires proof that the defendants did not have a previous intent to commit the crimes charged. The main inquiry looks at whether it was the government that planted the criminal idea into the mind of the defendants. Here, the government successfully argued that they provided the opportunity to commit a type of crime most men would run from. These four men, however, willingly accepted. The men's defense attorney called the case a "miscarriage of justice" and plans to file a motion to dismiss the verdict.

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