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Synagogue Bomb Case Bid For New Trial Denied By N.Y. Judge

A request for a new trial by four men convicted last year of plotting to blow up synagogues in New York and fire heat-seeking missiles at military planes was denied by a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan today also denied post-trial request made by James Cromitie and his three coconspirators asking her to acquit the four men and dismiss their indictment based on outrageous government conduct.

McMahon said in her ruling dismissing the motions that there is “something decidedly troubling about the government’s behavior” regarding Cromitie. Even so, she wrote, “sting operations, even elaborate ones that appear designed to be shown on the evening news, are legal; and Cromitie certainly gave the government ample reason to think that he might be susceptible to being stung.”

She also noted in her ruling that an informant in the case was the “prime mover and instigator of all the criminal activity that occurred,” and that it took Cromitie nine months to “take the bait that was offered him.”

Cromitie and the other three men convicted in the case—Onta Williams, David Williams and Laguerre Payen—face as long as life in prison at sentencing, scheduled for June 7. They were convicted in October of charges including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the U.S. in a plot to bomb synagogues in the Bronx section of New York City and fire heat- seeking missiles at military planes.

The men’s lawyers argued that they were the victims of entrapment by a paid informant who lured them into the scheme with offers of food, money and vacations. Cromitie’s attorney, Vincent Briccetti, said in his request to dismiss the case that the government “created the criminal then manufactured the crime.”

(Source: Business Week)

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