Tag: Liberty City

11th Circuit Upholds Convictions in Liberty City "Sears Tower" Terror Sting

Remember the terror wannabes aka bumbling holy warriors from Florida caught in an FBI terror sting and charged with planning to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago? The only al-Qaeda member they met with was an undercover informant posing as one. They couldn't even afford boots. It took prosecutors three tries to get a conviction. (More here, all our coverage is here.)

The 11th Circuit upheld their convictions yesterday.

Prosecutor Jacqueline Arango said during sentencing hearings that the U.S. "shouldn't have to wait for people to be harmed to punish these people for their desire to inflict harm."

Punish people for their desires? Wow. I guess punishment for thoughts is coming next. The opinion is here.

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Will Third Time Be the Charm for Liberty City Trial?

The Liberty City aka Sears Tower trial begins again in Florida after two mistrials in which jurors couldn't agree on a verdict.

Prosecutors tried to prove that the original seven defendants, a group of laborers from the tough Liberty City neighborhood, provided “material support” to a terrorist organization, and planned to destroy buildings. But they relied mostly on the men’s words, citing their loyalty oath to Al Qaeda and aggressive comments made to two F.B.I. informants.

More concrete evidence did not emerge. Testimony showed that a search by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of what it called the group’s headquarters did not yield guns, explosives or blueprints for an attack. Besides a samurai sword, no weapons were found.

This was the trial hyped by Alberto Gonzales to the media. The Bush Administration played the "fear card" to the max and still couldn't get a guilty verdict. It should be more difficult this time around.

As University of Miami Law Prof Bruce Winnick says, it's more like a grade B movie plot than a criminal case.

Our past coverage of the trials is accessible here.

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