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Keep Trying, Until They Are Convicted

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Parche Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-30-08 05:43 PM
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Keep Trying, Until They Are Convicted
MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- When the seven men were arrested in June 2006, federal authorities said they had broken up a dangerous home-grown terror cell plotting to blow up Chicago's Sears Tower and other landmarks.

Two trials and millions of dollars later, the government has yet to obtain a single conviction. Still, federal prosecutors will try for a third time to convince a jury that a ragtag group of homeless men known as the "Liberty City 7" plotted terrorist acts with al Qaeda.

Two previous trials ended with hung juries after lengthy deliberations. The third trial will begin January 6, a judge said at a hearing Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Miami.

The FBI used two paid informants to infiltrate the group, ending its sting with a dramatic warehouse raid. One of the informants, posing as an al Qaeda contact, said he would pay the men and give them hiking boots if they would pledge an oath to al Qaeda and take surveillance photos of buildings that al Qaeda wanted blown up.

According to testimony at the trials, the suspects did pledge their oath to the terrorist organization. After the informant bought them a camera, the men also took pictures of federal offices in Miami. The FBI even made tapes of the al Qaeda pledge and the scheme to blow up the buildings. Watch a report on the case

But at both trials, jurors had problems agreeing on convictions because no terrorist organization was aided and the materials provided were photos anyone could have taken.

Lygleson Lemorin, a 33-year-old Haitian immigrant, was acquitted of all charges at the first trial but still faces possible deportation. And so the Liberty City 7 became six.

Pierre Augustine, the father of two defendants, said his sons were homeless, gullible and framed. The pledge to al Qaeda, he said, was just stupidity.

"It's nonsense, because ... my son never traveled anywhere. How could have got in touch with al Qaeda?" he said. "They came to him."

Still, the government seems to be inching closer to at least some convictions.

Alleged group leader Narseal Batiste is said to have come within one vote of being convicted of providing material support to terrorists at the most recent trial. The jury deliberated for 13 days before a mistrial was declared earlier in April.

During the first trial, foreman Jeffrey Agron said, jurors voted 8-4 to convict Batiste and two others. But no one on his jury believed that any of the men were dangerous, Agron said.

"There was no bombs, no bomb-making material, no books on jihad, schematics of the Sears Tower or any other building," Agron said. "When they raided their headquarters, they really found nothing, and that was a concern for a lot of us on the jury, certainly myself."

In the most recent trial, the vote was 11-1 to convict Batiste, but the lone holdout wouldn't budge, former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey said a juror told him.

Agron said he disagrees with prosecutors' decision to try the case a third time. He added that he thinks politics may have more to do with a third trial than homeland security.

"It seems to me like they are looking to perhaps save face for a case they made a big deal out of at the time of the arrests and has not gone their way," Agron said.

Four of the defendants now have been granted bail . Batiste and Patrick Abraham of Haiti remain jailed.

Of the four, one was released Tuesday, and the other three will be released this week, officials said. They are Naudimar Herrera, Burson Augustine, Rotschild Augustine and Stanley Grant Phanor.

Coffey said the government has presented a case proving that the Liberty City 7 wanted to be terrorists.

"It is a difficult case," he said. "The task is to convince a jury that it is a crime to be a 'wannabe' when what you want to be is a terrorist."

The cost of continuing to pursue the case is becoming an issue as well. According to court estimates obtained by CNN, the first two trials have cost the government between $5 million and $8 million. The third trial is expected to cost at least another $1 million.

Attorneys involved in the trial are under a gag order. But Coffey said federal prosecutors don't put a price on pursuing justice.

"This is considered to be the top priority of the Justice Department, and whatever the decision is based on, it's not going to be based upon cost-effectiveness considerations," he said.


Keep saying it to yourself, "They are Terra ists, they are terra ists, they are terrra ists."
I cant wait for the 7th trial........gotta convict someone of Al-Kida no matter what!!
:sarcasm: :sarcasm: :sarcasm:


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bluesmail Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-30-08 08:04 PM
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1. okay I'll be the first to post that they can NEVER be wrong
not in Florida, Not in Illinois, not in the Middle East. Not EVER. Arrogance. And I'm talking about the filthy rich who 'govern' this dying planet.
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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-30-08 08:12 PM
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2. This whole operation is laughable from start to finish..
These hapless losers were goaded by and FBI instigator to say dumb things. He gave them a camera, told them what to point it at, set up a "swear to Al Qaida" ceremony.. and Did dhe ever get them those shoes they wanted? Or did he just promise them some shoes?
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