Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Failed Riverdale bomb plotter isn't a real terrorist
The ringleader of a futile plot to bomb two Riverdale synagogues may be a career criminal with a "big mouth" -- but his lawyer insists he's no terrorist.
James Cromitie faces life behind bars for his conviction in an FBI sting operation that targeted radical Muslims attending an upstate mosque affiliated with the Nation of Islam.
In court papers filed this morning, Cromitie's lawyer asked for leniency at his June 16 sentencing, saying he deserves no more than the mandatory minimum of 25 years.
"Viewed in a light most favorable to the government, what happened was that the government located a disaffected individual with a long criminal record and a big mouth who said he wanted to do terrible things to the United States and to Jews," Kerry Lawrence wrote.
But Cromitie "had none of the necessary resources, skills, or equipment that would have enabled him to carry out any such plot absent the direction of the government," Lawrence wrote.
The Manhattan federal court filing also says there's no proof that Cromitie and three accomplices "had any prior connections to terrorists or terrorist organizations, or had ever communicated with each other or anyone else about any activities remotely similar to the ones involved in this case."
The plotters -- who also planned to use Stinger missiles to shoot down military aircraft at the upstate Stewart Air National Guard Base -- contended at trial that they were entrapped by an informant who promised them up to $250,000 to pull off the scheme.
A spokeswoman for the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment.