NEW YORK – NEW YORK (AP) — Four men accused of placing what they thought were bombs outside two synagogues and planning to shoot a missile at planes will not be released on bail, even though the government's case against them may be weaker than initially thought, a federal judge ruled Friday.
James Cromitie, 44, Onta Williams, 32, David Williams, 28, and Laguerre Payen, 27, have been jailed more than a year on terrorism charges. They have pleaded not guilty, saying they were entrapped by a federal informant who proposed and directed the plot and then supplied the fake bombs and inactive missile.
Payen is illegally in the U.S. from Haiti and not eligible for release. Judge Colleen McMahon ruled Friday it could not be assured the others would return if freed.
"The court is also aware that the government's case may not be as ironclad as it appeared in the hours and days immediately after the defendants were arrested," she ruled. The suspects would still have to remain in jail, however, she added.
Defense attorneys had no comment. They had argued at a Monday hearing their clients were not dangerous and could be released.
The men are accused of placing what they thought were bombs outside two Bronx synagogues last May and of planning to use what they thought was a live Stinger missile against planes at the Stewart Air National Guard base near Newburgh, N.Y., where they lived.
The men have been jailed for more than a year. The case is on hold indefinitely after prosecutors were dealt a setback on evidence. They said in court they hoped to resolve issues with classified documents by August.