Attorneys for three of four men accused of placing what they thought were bombs outside two synagogues and planning to shoot a missile at planes argued Monday their clients were not dangerous because they were tricked into it by federal informants and should be released on bail.
James Cromitie, 44, Onta Williams, 32, David Williams, 28, and Laguerre Payen, 27, have pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges. They claim they were entrapped by a federal informant who proposed and directed the plot and then supplied the fake bombs and inactive missile.
Payen is from Haiti and would only be released to immigration officials, so he will remain in custody. Defense attorneys for the other three suspects said their clients are not a flight risk and not dangerous.
The lawyers argued the men aren't dangerous criminals, and if not for promises of cash and cars, they would never have agreed to participate. They also said the case against their clients was weak at best.
"Every day it seems we receive additional information that undercuts this case," said Vincent Briccetti, Cromitie's attorney.
The men are accused of placing what they thought were bombs outside two Bronx synagogues last May and of planning to use what they thought was a live Stinger missile against planes at the Stewart Air National Guard base near Newburgh, New York, where they lived.
Federal prosecutors say the defendants are dangerous to the public and a flight risk. They said the men have lengthy criminal histories and are accused of serious crimes.
"These defendants are facing life in prison," Assistant District Attorney David Raskin said in court. "That alone is a tremendous incentive to get out of dodge."
Judge Colleen McMahon said she would issue a written ruling on bail but did not say when. It would be unusual for terrorism suspects to be released on bail.
The men have been jailed for more than a year.