Sat. May 25th, 2024

Judge orders the release of the accused of the ‘Newburgh Four’ and criticizes the role of the FBI in the terrorist operation<!-- wp:html --><div> <p class="Ekqk nlgH yuUa MvWX TjIX aGjv ebVH">A judge has ordered the release from prison of a man convicted of a post-9/11 terrorism operation who criticized the FBI for relying on a “nasty” confidential informant for a plot concocted by the agency to blow up New York synagogues and take down the National Guard. planes.</p> <p class="Ekqk nlgH yuUa lqtk TjIX aGjv">U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon on Friday granted James Cromitie, 58, compassionate release from prison six months after she ordered the release of his three co-defendants, known as the Newburgh Four, for similar reasons. The four men from the small river town 60 miles (97 kilometers) north of New York City were convicted of terrorism charges in 2010. </p> <p class="Ekqk nlgH yuUa lqtk TjIX aGjv">Cromitie has served 15 years of his minimum 25-year sentence. The New York-based judge ordered that Cromitie’s sentence be reduced to time served plus 90 days.</p> <p class="Ekqk nlgH yuUa lqtk TjIX aGjv">Prosecutors in the high-profile case said the Newburgh defendants spent months scouting targets and securing what they thought were explosives and a surface-to-air missile, with the goal of shooting down planes at the Air National Guard base in Newburgh and blow up synagogues in the Bronx. They were arrested after allegedly planting “bombs” packed with inert explosives supplied by the FBI.</p> <p class="Ekqk nlgH yuUa lqtk TjIX aGjv">Critics have accused federal agents of rounding up a group of men who were down on their luck after serving time in prison. </p> <p class="Ekqk nlgH yuUa lqtk TjIX aGjv">In a scathing ruling, McMahon wrote that the FBI concocted the conspiracy and identified the targets. Cromitie and his co-defendants, he wrote, “would not and could not have devised on their own” a criminal plot involving missiles. </p> <p class="Ekqk nlgH yuUa lqtk TjIX aGjv">“The idea that Cromitie was selected as a ‘leader’ by his co-defendants is inconceivable, given his well-documented buffoonery and ineptitude,” he wrote.</p> <p class="Ekqk nlgH yuUa lqtk TjIX aGjv">Cromitie was implicated in the bogus plot by federal informant Shaheed Hussain, whose work has been criticized for years by civil liberties groups. </p> <p class="Ekqk nlgH yuUa lqtk TjIX aGjv">McMahon called him “very unpleasant” and a “villain” sent by the government to “search among the poorest and weakest men for ‘terrorists’ who might prove susceptible to an offer of much-needed cash in exchange for committing a bogus crime.” “</p> <p class="Ekqk nlgH yuUa lqtk TjIX aGjv">Hussain also worked with the FBI on an operation targeting an Albany, New York, pizzeria owner and an imam, involving a loan with money from a fictitious missile sale. Both men, who said they were duped, were convicted of money laundering and conspiracy to assist a terrorist group.</p> <p class="Ekqk nlgH yuUa lqtk TjIX aGjv">Hussain reappeared in the public eye in 2018 when a limousine crashed in rural Schoharie, New York, killing 20 people. Hussain owned the limousine company, run by his son, Nauman Hussain. </p> <p class="Ekqk nlgH yuUa lqtk TjIX aGjv">Nauman Hussain was convicted of manslaughter last year and is serving a sentence of between five and 15 years in prison.</p> <p class="Ekqk nlgH yuUa lqtk TjIX aGjv">Cromitie’s attorney, Kerry Lawrence, said Saturday that he had not yet been able to contact his client, but that Cromitie’s family was very happy.</p> <p class="Ekqk nlgH yuUa lqtk TjIX aGjv">“I am obviously excited to have Mr. Cromitie released from prison, but I continue to believe that his conviction was entirely the product of a government scheme,” Lawrence wrote in an email. “Given that he was pursued and manipulated by the government informant far more than any of … the other defendants who were previously ordered released from custody, it would have been shocking if Judge McMahon had not granted our motion.”</p> <p class="Ekqk nlgH yuUa lqtk TjIX aGjv">Calls were made Saturday to the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in New York City seeking comment. </p> </div><!-- /wp:html -->

A judge has ordered the release from prison of a man convicted of a post-9/11 terrorism operation who criticized the FBI for relying on a “nasty” confidential informant for a plot concocted by the agency to blow up New York synagogues and take down the National Guard. planes.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon on Friday granted James Cromitie, 58, compassionate release from prison six months after she ordered the release of his three co-defendants, known as the Newburgh Four, for similar reasons. The four men from the small river town 60 miles (97 kilometers) north of New York City were convicted of terrorism charges in 2010.

Cromitie has served 15 years of his minimum 25-year sentence. The New York-based judge ordered that Cromitie’s sentence be reduced to time served plus 90 days.

Prosecutors in the high-profile case said the Newburgh defendants spent months scouting targets and securing what they thought were explosives and a surface-to-air missile, with the goal of shooting down planes at the Air National Guard base in Newburgh and blow up synagogues in the Bronx. They were arrested after allegedly planting “bombs” packed with inert explosives supplied by the FBI.

Critics have accused federal agents of rounding up a group of men who were down on their luck after serving time in prison.

In a scathing ruling, McMahon wrote that the FBI concocted the conspiracy and identified the targets. Cromitie and his co-defendants, he wrote, “would not and could not have devised on their own” a criminal plot involving missiles.

“The idea that Cromitie was selected as a ‘leader’ by his co-defendants is inconceivable, given his well-documented buffoonery and ineptitude,” he wrote.

Cromitie was implicated in the bogus plot by federal informant Shaheed Hussain, whose work has been criticized for years by civil liberties groups.

McMahon called him “very unpleasant” and a “villain” sent by the government to “search among the poorest and weakest men for ‘terrorists’ who might prove susceptible to an offer of much-needed cash in exchange for committing a bogus crime.” “

Hussain also worked with the FBI on an operation targeting an Albany, New York, pizzeria owner and an imam, involving a loan with money from a fictitious missile sale. Both men, who said they were duped, were convicted of money laundering and conspiracy to assist a terrorist group.

Hussain reappeared in the public eye in 2018 when a limousine crashed in rural Schoharie, New York, killing 20 people. Hussain owned the limousine company, run by his son, Nauman Hussain.

Nauman Hussain was convicted of manslaughter last year and is serving a sentence of between five and 15 years in prison.

Cromitie’s attorney, Kerry Lawrence, said Saturday that he had not yet been able to contact his client, but that Cromitie’s family was very happy.

“I am obviously excited to have Mr. Cromitie released from prison, but I continue to believe that his conviction was entirely the product of a government scheme,” Lawrence wrote in an email. “Given that he was pursued and manipulated by the government informant far more than any of … the other defendants who were previously ordered released from custody, it would have been shocking if Judge McMahon had not granted our motion.”

Calls were made Saturday to the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in New York City seeking comment.

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