An update on this story. Look for an insanity defense (already under discussion below) or the usual claims of “entrapment” that come with sting operations against jihadists. “Two indicted in alleged New York terrorism plot,” by Chris Boyette for CNN, June 15:
New York (CNN) — A Manhattan grand jury indicted two men Wednesday on multiple terrorism charges in connection with a terror plot against New York synagogues.
The men were arrested in May, marking the end of a seven-month undercover operation by New York police officers.
The defendants, Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh, are charged with multiple criminal counts of weapons possession, terrorism, conspiracy and a hate crime. If convicted, they could face life behind bars without the possibility of parole.
According to Joan Vollero, deputy director of communications for the Manhattan district attorney’s office, both men pleaded not guilty.
Court documents allege that Ferhani and Mamdouh plotted to intimidate and kill non-Muslim Americans, Christians and especially Jews by conspiring to bomb several synagogues and churches in Manhattan.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said Wednesday’s indictment specifically describes how the suspects conspired to use violence to support their cause.
“Their desire to commit violent jihad against Jewish Americans is not only an act of terrorism but also a hate crime,” he said.
On May 11, Ferhani and Mamdouh were detained in midtown Manhattan after buying two loaded Browning semi-automatic pistols, one Smith & Wesson revolver, ammunition and a grenade, according to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
At least a dozen police officers swarmed Ferhani, who was placing the weapons in the trunk of his car. Mamdouh was arrested on a street nearby moments later.
Ferhani, a 26-year-old unemployed resident of Queens, is a native of Algeria who traveled to the United States in 1995, claiming asylum.
“Muslims are abused all over the world, and I ain’t going to take it,” prosecutors quoted Ferhani as saying; his conversations with an undercover police officer were secretly recorded.
Prosecutors say Ferhani sold narcotics in an effort to finance the planned attacks.
Ferhani’s attorney, Elizabeth Fink, claims that the defendant has a serious psychiatric problem that the NYPD has known about for years. “You just have to look at the facts, and you’ll see this guy is not guilty,” she said.
She cites infighting between state and federal governments and the political ambitions of elected officials for a weak case against her client. “For some reason, these people want to exploit and drive a wedge between the people of New York,” Fink said. […]
Authorities said the suspects discussed disguising themselves as Jewish temple-goers, growing beards and pretending to pray as a way to sneak inside a synagogue and place a bomb.