After a trial that lasted nearly two months, five African-American men were convicted Tuesday of plotting to blow up Chicago’s Sears Tower and FBI offices in an ill-fated attempt to trigger an al-Qaeda-led rebellion against the U.S. government.
Following two prior mistrials, the Miami jury agreed with prosecutors that five of the so-called “Liberty City Six” had conspired to inflict terrorism. On the sixth day of deliberations the jury acquitted a sixth defendant. They were nabbed three years ago when they laid out their scheme with an undercover FBI informant, whom they believed was an al-Qaeda operative. Federal agents taped the interactions, which the defense argued was a mere attempt to get money and not kill citizens.
Facing the longest jail time is 35-year-old Narseal Batiste, who is the only member of the gang convicted on all four counts of terrorism, conspiracy, attempting terrorism and anarchism. He faces up to 70 years behind bars. Also convicted, on three separate counts, was 29-year-old Patrick Abraham, who’s looking at a potential 50 years in prison. Burson Augustine, 24, was convicted on two counts and is facing 30 years, as is Rotschild Augustine, 25, and Stanley Grant Phanor, 33. Acquitted of all counts was Naudimar Herrera, 25.
They are scheduled to be sentenced on July 27. The men, all of Haitian descent, lived in Miami’s violent, blighted community of Liberty City.