A federal judge heard oral arguments this week over the conviction of four Newburgh men for plotting to blow up two Riverdale synagogues and shoot down an airplane with a missile. They were caught in an elaborate FBI sting.
The case was the subject of a comprehensive Village Voice article which showcased the first ever interview with any of the defendants, and examined the weaknesses of the government’s case, which relied heavily on an informant.
In that exclusive interview, defendant David Williams said he only went along with the “plot” because he and fellow defendant James Cromitie were trying to scam money out of the informant, who posed as a wealthy Pakistani businessman with ties to a terror group. Williams said it was the informant and the FBI who pushed the plot along, supplying cash, gifts, transportation, equipment, “safe houses,” and the (fake) weapons.
U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon noted in yesterday’s hearing that, “The plot was created before our very eyes in this courtroom.”
Defense attorneys asked her to hold additional hearings on whether to dismiss the verdict and on the government’s handling of the investigation. They have also filed a series of motions to overturn the conviction. McMahon said she would consider the request and rule on the motions, in advance of sentencing, which is now scheduled for April 8.