Good Muslims, all of them. Couldn’t hurt a fly. Except when it comes to Jews, that’s different; that’s a religious obligation….
Four men piled into a sports utility vehicle in May 2009 and planted what they believed were working explosives outside a Bronx synagogue in hopes of committing a terrorist attack, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.
What they didn’t know at the time was a fifth man in the vehicle was a paid FBI informant who had been watching them for months. The four alleged plotters from Newburgh, N.Y., were arrested moments later.
“They were prepared to go all the way through with their destructive and murderous plan,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Hickey said.
But Vincent L. Briccetti, a lawyer for alleged plotter James Cromitie, argued that the men never would have engaged in the plot if not for the informant, Shaheed Hussain.
Prosecutors alleged the men planted explosives outside a synagogue and Jewish community center in the Riverdale section of the Bronx in May 2009. They also hoped to use Stinger missiles to shoot down military aircraft at Stewart Airport in Newburgh later that night, prosecutors said.
Inert explosives and nonworking missiles were provided to the men by the FBI informant as part of a sting operation, prosecutors said. “This was their chance and the evidence will show the defendants leapt at it,” said Hickey.
Briccetti, the lawyer for defendant Cromitie, countered that the plot was engineered solely by the government informant.
Hussain egged Cromitie on to say “vile” and “hateful” things about Jews and America, Briccetti said. He also promised financial rewards, including giving Cromitie a BMW automobile after the attack, according to the defense attorney.
Hussain pleaded guilty to an unlawful transfer of an identification document in April 2003 as part of a cooperation agreement with federal prosecutors before becoming an FBI informant, according to a court filing by prosecutors.