Monday, August 23, 2010

Jury selection begins for New York terror suspects

New York - Jury selection began in a US district court Monday for four terrorist suspects facing charges they plotted to blow up a Jewish synagogue and shoot down US military planes.

The four men, who were arrested in May 2009, have been charged with eight counts, including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States and acquire and use anti- aircraft missiles. They pleaded not guilty when they were formally charged in June last year.

The court in Lower Manhattan on Monday began the long process of jury selection before the trial was to start, a court clerk said.

The defendants are James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and LaGuerre Payen, who also used Arabic aliases. They face life in prison if convicted.

US prosecutors said last year that the four suspects allegedly planned blow up a synagogue in the Bronx, a borough of New York City, and to shoot down US military planes at the Air National Guard Base at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, New York.

Police said last year that the four were arrested in White Plains, in upstate New York, after leaving a vehicle loaded with explosives, which they bought from undercover FBI agents. The explosives were inert, however.

The FBI sting was carried with informants in a year-long operation to snare the four men. The anti-aircraft missiles sold to them by the FBI were also disarmed.

Monsters & Critics

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