No Guilty Verdicts in Liberty City Seven - Sears Tower Terror Trial
In a "stinging defeat" for the Bush Administration, the judge in Florida's Liberty City Seven-Sears Tower terror trial finally declared a mistrial today after jurors were still deadlocked after nine days of deliberation. They were deadlocked since day four but she made them keep deliberating. One defendant was acquitted on all counts, the jury couldn't reach a verdict on the others.
The defense portrayed the seven men as hapless figures who were either manipulated and entrapped by the FBI or went along with the plot to con "Mohammed" out of $50,000. The group never actually made contact with al-Qaida and never acquired any weapons or explosives. Prosecutors said no attack was imminent, acknowledging that the alleged terror cell was "more aspirational than operational."
But then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said after the arrests in mid-2006 that the group was emblematic of the "smaller, more loosely defined cells who are not affiliated with al-Qaida, but who are inspired by a violent jihadist message."
Let's hope it's a lesson to the FBI that they can't just send out informants to create crime plots and entrap people not otherwise predisposed into signing on.
Update: Time Magazine has a lengthy article calling it a Grade B Movie Trial.
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