Miami-Ft. Lauderdale Market
WSVN CBS4 News – 4/23/2008 5:04pm
There have been two lengthy trials and two mistrials. Federal prosecutors said they will try a third time now to convict the so-called Liberty City 6 for plotting to blow up Chicago’s Sears Tower. TV4’s Michael Williams is in Court for today’s ruling and Michael, I understand that some of these defendants will be allowed out of jail before this next trial starts.
MICHAEL WILLIAMS: Yes, they will be. That next trial may not start until the fall at the earliest, but four of the six remaining defendants will make bond. We’ll talk more about that. As for the larger case, it sprung from terror-related charges and arrests nearly two summers ago and now after two mistrials, as you said, the feds say because of the severity of the charges and their duty to safeguard the community, they must press on. But defense lawyers say this is an overblown case with underwhelming evidence. Families of the Liberty City defendants walked out of federal court angry, and for the most part, silent about the decision of federal prosecutors to push ahead for a third trial. But Pierre Augustine, the father of one of the accused, openingly scoffed at the notion that his sons had pledged allegiance to Al Qaida. That’s nonsense. Because Al Qaida My son never travelled anywhere. How come he has to get in touch with Al Qaida. Federal prosecutors said the alleged group leader Narsil Batiste had wanted “to kill all those devils” and the government will not ignore threats to blow up, among other things, Chicago’s Sears Tower. The plot allegedly was hatched in this Liberty City warehouse and it was one captured by an FBI informant as well as audio and video tapes.
KENDALL COFFEY: For normal crimes you might step back after two hung juries. But with crimes and allegations that are considered to be this serious they’re going to keep going unless it becomes unrealistic to hope for a conviction.
MICHAEL WILLIAMS: Last December one of the original Liberty City 7 was acquitted and the jury could not decide the fate of the other six. Then, this month a second mistrial by a federal jury unconvinced by the government case.
KENDALL COFFEY: Some of the themes they’d been working- that this is all about government overreacting to a bunch of local wannabes.. this is all about a government sting operation for folks that had nothing to do with Al Qaida. You’d have to believe that those themes are working with at least some jurors and they’ll probably be going to doing more of the same.
MICHAEL WILLIAMS: And a frustrated father offered this blunt assessment: “The white man make the law. The white man breaks the law. That’s the problem. Because they do what they want to do.” Again, four of the six remaining defendants will make bond too. The alleged ringleader Batiste and another one, an illegal alien, Patrick Abraham, will remain behind bars for a case that again as we said at the outset may not see another trial date until this fall. Perhaps even onto early next year. Reporting from the U.S. Federal Courthouse in downtown Miami, Michael Williams, CBS 4 News.