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Ohio bridge-bombing suspect pleads guilty, agrees to testify

Anthony Hayne, one of five men charged with plotting to bomb a highway bridge, pleaded guilty in federal court in Akron, Ohio, on Wednesday.
Anthony Hayne, one of five men charged with plotting to bomb a highway bridge, pleaded guilty in federal court in Akron, Ohio, on Wednesday.

A man charged with plotting to blow up a bridge near Cleveland has agreed to testify against his four co-defendants after pleading guilty in federal court Wednesday, The Associated Press reported

Anthony Hayne, 35, hopes to get leniency in return for his testimony, his lawyer Michael O' Shea told the AP.

Hayne, along with Douglas L. Wright, 26, Brandon L. Baxter, 20, Connor C. Stevens, 20, and Joshua S. Stafford, 23 were arrested in April and charged with plotting to blow up the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge.

Five anarchists nabbed in plot to blow up Ohio bridge

The five face charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce and attempt to destroy a building or structure used in interstate commerce.

They had been working with an FBI informant and were under surveillance for some time before their arrests. The informant provided them with an inoperable explosive.

"There was never any danger," one federal official told NBC News back in May.

Authorities described the men as anarchists who wanted to act out against the government and corporate America.

One of the suspects, Wright, asked a judge in June to exclude evidence that he threatened to bomb his seventh-grade principal when he was 12 years old. A decision has not yet been made. 

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The FBI said the men hatched a series of evolving plots over several months before deciding to blow up the bridge that links two Cleveland suburbs.

According to Steven Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, the men conspired between February and April to use homemade bombs to level the bridge.

Authorities had been on to the group since October, according to court documents. Those documents said a source told the FBI the men were at a protest wearing masks, talking on radios, acting suspiciously and carrying flags associated with anarchists.

The five had been involved with Occupy Cleveland, but the organization has not been implicated. 

The trial is set to begin in September.

Hayne could face up to 19 years in prison for his role. 

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