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Terrorism trial winds down in Miami
The "Liberty City Seven" case is expected to go to the jury on Monday.
Published December 1, 2007
MIAMI - Little evidence exists that six men were involved in an alleged plot to topple Chicago's Sears Tower and bomb FBI offices, their lawyers said in closing arguments Friday.
One by one, the attorneys sought to distance the men from their alleged leader, Narseal Batiste, whose voice and image appear on the vast majority of the thousands of FBI recordings made over an eight-month investigation.
"You can't hold Mr. Phanor responsible for the words of Mr. Batiste," said Roderick Vereen, who represents Stanley Grant Phanor, 32.
Batiste says he fabricated the Sears Tower plot and went along with the FBI bombing idea in an attempt to con $50,000 out of a man posing as an al-Qaida operative. That man, known as Brother Mohammed to the group, was actually a paid FBI informant.
"There are no real terrorists here," said Nathan Clark, attorney for Rotschild Augustine, 24. "There was never any evidence of terrorism."
After a nearly two-month trial, jurors were scheduled to begin deliberations in the case Monday after a final rebuttal from prosecutors.
The so-called "Liberty City Seven" each face up to 70 years in prison if convicted of four terrorism-related conspiracy charges, including providing material support to al-Qaida and plotting to wage war against the United States.