Four men accused of plotting to bomb a Bronx synagogue were so clueless they did not even know how to turn the device on, lawyers said in federal court Monday.
“The tapes were incredible,” defense lawyer Suzanne Brody said after a bail hearing in federal court in White Plains.
“In it you hear the informant ask [alleged ringleader James] Cromitie, ‘So, did you turn it on?’ “‘Turn what on? The switch, did you turn it on?’ “‘No, was I supposed to?,” Brody said.
Defense lawyers argued at the hearing that the accused terrorists posed no real danger but were instead set up by a government informant who supplied them with cash, instructions and – unbenownst to them – fake bombs.
The dopey defendants were set to go on trial last week until an FBI memo surfaced that could help their case.
The internal memo informed authorities at Stewart Air Force Base in Newburgh, N.Y., not to be alarmed if they saw Cromitie sneaking around because he was harmless.
Defense lawyers argued the memo shows the government’s case is weak and the men should be released on bail.
“He’s not a danger unless the FBI informant is leading him around,” said Cromitie’s lawyer, Vincent Briccetti. Prosecutor David Raskin argued that the defendants clearly were eager to plant bombs and wreak havoc – regardless of promises of money or fancy cars.
“A normal, law-abiding citizen would say, ‘Get away from me, I’m calling the police,’” Raskin told Federal Judge Colleen McMahon.
McMahon said she will decide in the next few days if three of the four men should be released on bail until a trial starts. One of the defendants, Haitian-born Leguerre Payen, has an immigration issue and cannot be released