Synagogue Bomb Plot Trial Delayed

By Lynda Baquero
|  Monday, Jun 14, 2010  |  Updated 3:38 PM EDT
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Photos: Arrests in Alleged Bomb Plot

AP

A New York City police officer stands guard outside the Riverdale Jewish Center in the Bronx borough of New York on Thursday May 21, 2009. Four men arrested after planting what they thought were explosives near a synagogue and community center and plotting to shoot down a military plane were bent on carrying out a holy war against America, authorities alleged. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

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A federal judge has delayed the trial of four men accused of plotting to bomb New York synagogues after the prosecution said it needs more time to comply with a ruling favorable to the defense.

The government said the ruling means it has to go through classified material to see what it must turn over to the defense.

The request for a delay angered Judge Colleen McMahon. She said the prosecution should have been prepared.

McMahon said she would consider defense motions to dismiss the case. She also set next Monday for bail hearings for the four defendants, who have been in prison for more than a year.

One of the defendants' mother, Elizabeth McWilliams, called it the "best birthday present ever." Her son, David Williams, has been held in custody for over a year awaiting trial.

Jury selection was supposed to start Monday but the 140 potential jurors were told they would not be needed Defense motions to dismiss the case are due July 2.

The defendants -- James Cromitie, 44; Onta Williams, 32; David Williams, 28; and Laguerre Payen, 27 -- are accused of placing what they believed were bombs outside two Bronx synagogues in May of 2009. The Newburgh men are also accused of planning to use what they thought was a live Stinger missile against planes at an Air National Guard base.

Earlier this year they filed a dismissal motion which called the plot “a government-inspired creation from Day 1.” Though the motion was denied, attorneys for the accused men said the informant chose the targets, offered payment, provided maps and bought the only real weapon involved, a handgun.

The defendants, who face up to life sentences, claimed “outrageous government conduct.”

Early today, police in White Plains closed streets and set up surprise checkpoints to tighten security around the courthouse.

Judge Colleen McMahon said she had been privately referring to the case as "the un-terrorist case."

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