Three bites of the apple

Having failed to complete a single major prosecution in the so-called “war on terror” since 9/11, the Bush justice department will grind away at the six remaining members of the Liberty City Seven, trying the six for a third time, after two hung juries. The foreman of jury #2 has said, “don’t bother“, but there’s nothing to stop the JD from shopping for jury after jury after jury until they find one filled with enough Bush Kool-Aid to convict. Meanwhile, the government is continuing its push to deport the one member of this hapless crew who was actuallly acquitted by a jury of his peers. From the Herald story:

Six Miami men who survived two mistrials will be tried for a third time on terrorism charges in an unprecedented federal case.
But the jury foreman in the retrial that deadlocked last week questioned the prosecution’s decision on Wednesday to retry the Liberty City defendants again, saying it would probably lead to a third mistrial. They were mainly charged with conspiring to assist al Qaeda in a government sting operation.

In the undercover investigation, the FBI recorded the defendants as they pledged their allegiance to al Qaeda in a March 2006 oath led by an FBI informant. The informant, an Arabic man who went by the name Mohammad, posed as a financier for the global terrorist organization.

Prosecutor Richard Gregorie said Wednesday the U.S. attorney’s office decided to pursue the third trial because the ringleader, Narseal Batiste, was a dangerous man whose mission was to ”kill all the devils” in a war against the United States — beginning with the destruction of the Sears Tower in Chicago, then FBI buildings.

But the jury foreman in the second trial, who did not want to be identified, said the prosecution’s conspiracy case wasn’t strong enough and that jurors would likely deadlock again on their fate.

”I’m in disbelief they are going for a third trial,” said the foreman, who contacted The Miami Herald after the government’s announcement was reported on the paper’s webpage on Wednesday. “I’m afraid if they go for a third trial the jurors will hang or they will have the same issues we did.”

The foreman said the vast majority of jurors in the retrial wanted to convict Batiste and his alleged second in command, Patrick Abraham, on the central charges of conspiring to provide ”material support” to al Qaeda in 2006.

But almost all wanted to acquit defendants Naudimar Herrera and Rotschild Augustine, he said.

The jurors split down the middle on the two other defendants, Burson Augustin and Stanley Grant Phanor, he said.

The foreman said the basic problem with the government’s case was the lack of evidence to prove all six defendants had the will to carry out a terrorism plot , noting investigators found no explosives, weapons, ammunition or terrorist blueprints on them after their arrests in June 2006. He also said the jurors struggled with the FBI’s undercover operation, in which agents used an Arabic informant posing as an al Qaeda representative to test the resolve of the men. …

I feel safer. Do you feel safer?


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