Two men convicted of carrying out attacks on Jewish communities in New Jersey that included the firebombing of two synagogues and throwing a Molotov cocktail into a rabbi’s home lost their bids to have their convictions thrown out Thursday.
A state appeals court rejected numerous arguments by Aakash Dalal and Anthony Graziano, including that some evidence from a search of Dalal’s jail cell shouldn’t have been allowed in court, and a confession by Graziano to investigators after he spoke to his mother should have been suppressed. Graziano also argued his sentence was excessive.
The two, who were 19 at the time of the attacks in 2011, were convicted in separate trials in 2016 and sentenced to 35 years in prison under a state anti-terrorism law.
Their attack on the rabbi’s home in Rutherford occurred while the rabbi, his wife, five children and his parents were sleeping, according to authorities.
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Dalal also was charged with conspiring to murder a Bergen County assistant prosecutor after a jailhouse informant alerted authorities. That gave rise to the search of Dalal’s cell, which yielded anti-Semitic writings and references to explosives as well as the names of judges and prosecutors.
Attorney Alan Zegas, representing Dalal, said he believes the anti-terrorism law is unconstitutional and that he is considering appealing the case to the state Supreme Court. A message was left with Graziano’s attorney.