Five Guilty Verdicts in Liberty City Six Case

Plotting the demise of the Sears Tower is a bad thing, jurors said

The U.S. Government finally got their men.

After two mistrials and a third trial lasting over two months, guilty verdicts have been handed down to five of the six men accused of plotting with al-Qaeda to start a anti-government war.

The group known as the Liberty City Six had many bomb targets, prosecutors told jurors, including Chicago's Sears Tower and FBI offices around the country.

On trial were Narseal Batiste, 35; Patrick Abraham, 29; Stanley Grant Phanor, 33; Rotschild Augustine, 25; Burson Augustin, 24, and Naudimar Herrera, 25.

The one man who was found innocent of all charges, Naudimar Herrera, cried for his friends after the verdicts were read. 

''God is real,'' he said outside the courtroom. ``It's not right. They don't deserve this. All of us were supposed to be innocent. It's all B.S. They're going to come back and fight this. It ain't over.''

The four terrorism-related conspiracy counts carry a combined 70-year prison sentence.

The men were arrested in June 2006 on charges they plotted terrorism with an undercover FBI informant posing as an al-Qaida operative. Defense attorneys said terrorist talk recorded on dozens of FBI tapes was not serious and that the men wanted only money.

But even this guilty verdict was not without its share of controversy in the deliberation room. Two jurors had to be replaced by alternatives, a rarity in such a high-stakes case.

One juror fell ill at around the same time swine flu fear was sweeping the country. Another refused to participate in deliberations all together.

Two previous jury panels couldn't figure out whether the men were guilty or innocent.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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