CaribWorldNews, MIAMI, FL, Weds. May 13, 2009: Five Haitian and Haitian Americans were on Tuesday found guilty of plotting to blow up Chicago’s Sears Tower and bomb a FBI office in Miami in a terrorism attempt.
Haitian-born ringleader, Narseal Batiste,alias, Brother Nas or Prince Manna, 35, was convicted of all four terrorism-related conspiracy counts, including plotting to provide material support to terrorists and conspiring to wage war against the U.S.
Batiste, who migrated to the U.S. at age 11, now faces up to 70 years in prison. Prosecutors had focused on audio and video recordings where Batiste is repeatedly heard advocating violence against the U.S. and saying the men should start a `full ground war` that would `kill all the devils.`
`I want to fight some jihad,` Batiste stated on one tape.
Prosecutors also used an FBI video of the entire group pledging an oath of allegiance, or `bayat,` to al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden in a March 16, 2006, ceremony led by an FBI informant posing as `Brother Mohammed` from al-Qaida.
Four other accused, 29-year-old Patrick Abraham, was convicted on three counts and faces 50 years behind bars while 24-year-old Burson Augustin, 25-year-old Rotschild Augustine and 33-year-old Stanley Grant Phanor were convicted on two counts and facing 30 years.
Naudimar Herrera, 25, was cleared of all four charges. Another suspect, 34-year-old Lyglenson Lemorin, was cleared in 2007 of all charges but still faces deportation back to his native Haiti. Two previous trials ended in mistrials for the Florida-based Libert-City group.
Sentencing has been set for July 26th by U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard. The men, dubbed the `Liberty City Six` were arrested in June 2006 on charges of plotting terrorism with an undercover FBI informant they believed was from al-Qaida.
But defense attorneys said terrorist talk recorded on dozens of FBI tapes was not serious and the men wanted only money. Batiste, who testified in all three trials, insisted he was only going along with Mohammed so he could obtain $50,000 or more for his struggling construction business and the Miami chapter of a sect known as the Moorish Science Temple.
`This is a manufactured crime,` Batiste attorney Ana M. Jhones said earlier in the trial. – BY CWNN Staffer