Alleged Synagogue Plotter Faking Illness to Delay Trial: Judge

Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010  |  Updated 9:00 PM EDT
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Alleged Synagogue Plotter Faking Illness to Delay Trial: Judge

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A judge says a defendant has been faking mental illnesses, causing a two-day delay in the trial of four men accused of plotting to bomb New York City synagogues and upstate military airplanes.

Federal Judge Colleen McMahon ruled Tuesday after hearing a prison psychologist testify about Laguerre Payen. He was brought to court in a padded wheelchair, where at times he appeared to sleep or nod his head from side to side.

The defendants went on trial several weeks ago, charged with conspiracy and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction. They could face life in prison if convicted.

Payen's lawyer says his client is schizophrenic and bipolar. But a prosecutor says Payen is faking illnesses.

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