Plotter in Temple Bomb Scheme Gets 25 Years

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A man who helped plot to bomb temples in Riverdale was sentenced to 25 years in prison Wednesday.

    Laguerre Payen is the fourth to be convicted in the joint FBI-NYPD terror sting. The synagogue plot also targeted military planes flying out of Stewart Airport in Newburgh, N.Y.

    The 2009 plot included efforts by the so-called "Newburgh Four" to obtain C-4 explosives, guns and missiles to try to shoot down aircraft.

    Ringleader James Cromitie, along with David Williams and Onta Williams, were also convicted and sentenced to 25 years. The men were arrested as they tried to plant backbacks they thought had bombs in front of Jewish community centers.

    As part of the sting, the FBI gave them inert weapons.

    “Laguerre Payen was a willing participant in a plot to use bombs and missiles to target New York synagogues and U.S. military planes,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.  “Although these weapons were fake, the defendant believed they were real and today’s sentence underscores the gravity of these crimes.”  

    Defense lawyers had argued their clients were not terrorists.

    They tried to convince the jury that an unscrupulous informant set up the men -- all who had past ties to drug dealing and other crimes.

    During the trial, prosecutors played FBI tapes showing some of the men boasting of wanting to commit "jihad." They also showed the steps the men took in conducting surveillance and renting a storage locker near Stamford, Conn.

    All were convicted of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to kill U.S. officers and other counts.