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Federal judge sets 2009 date for third trial in Sears Tower terror case

[JURIST] A federal judge Wednesday set January 6, 2009 for the third terrorism prosecution [JURIST report] of six men charged with conspiring [DOJ press release] to bomb the Sears Tower in Chicago and the FBI headquarters in Miami after two previous prosecutions ended in mistrials. Earlier this month, US District Judge Joan A. Lenard declared the second mistrial [JURIST report] after the jury was unable to reach a verdict after 13 days of deliberations. In December 2007, Lenard declared an initial mistrial [JURIST report] when the jury was deadlocked after nine days of deliberations. A seventh man was acquitted in that proceeding.

The seven were indicted [JURIST report] in 2006 on charges [indictment, PDF] of conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda; conspiring to provide material support, training, and resources to terrorists; conspiring to maliciously damage and destroy by means of an explosive; and conspiring to levy war against the government of the United States. The indictment alleged that ringleader Narseal Batiste recruited the six other initial defendants to "organize and train for a mission to wage war against the United States government," and that they pledged an oath to al Qaeda in an attempt to secure financial and logistical backing. Lawyers for some of the men have said that their clients were entrapped [JURIST report] by an FBI informant posing as an al Qaeda operative. AP has more. The Sun-Sentinel has local coverage.

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