"Perhaps most powerfully, the prosecutors showed the court the fake bombs, built by the F.B.I"
The four men — Onta Williams, Laguerre Payen, James Cromitie and David Williams IV — will be sentenced on March 24. Each could face life in prison. Mr. Cromitie and David Williams were convicted on all eight counts of the indictment. Onta Williams and Mr. Payen, who met the informer late in the investigation, were found not guilty on one of the counts: attempting to kill officers and employees of the United States.
All the men were quiet as the verdicts were read. Mr. Cromitie’s lawyer, Vincent L. Briccetti, patted his client on the shoulder, while a few seats away, David Williams wore a grim smile. After the jury left the room, Mr. Williams’s aunt, Alicia McWilliams-McCollum, stood and yelled obscenities, saying there was no justice. Court officers told her to leave. In an interview a few hours after the verdict, one juror indicated that the deliberations, which lasted eight days, had been taxing. “We considered that what they did was a serious crime. We also considered that they didn’t have that kind of background,” said the juror, who insisted that his name not be published. “We
Over the next 11 months the three other defendants joined a plot that included leaving bombs outside two synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx and firing Stinger missiles at military transport planes at Stewart International Airport.
In a statement, Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said Monday: “Homegrown terrorism is a serious threat, and today’s convictions affirm our commitment to do everything we can to protect against it. The defendants in this case agreed to plant bombs and use missiles they thought were very real weapons of terrorism. We are safer today as a result of these convictions.”
Mark B. Gombiner, who represented Onta Williams, called the notion that citizens were safer “pure nonsense,” adding, “It does not reflect anything that happened during the investigation and prosecution.”
Mr. Gombiner and the other defense lawyers had tried to make their cross-examination of the informer, Mr. Hussain, the centerpiece of their case. For days in court, they questioned him about his criminal history, his financial dealings and his life in Pakistan, saying inconsistencies in his testimony showed he was a liar. They said he felt compelled to deliver a conviction to satisfy his government handlers and expected to be rewarded with citizenship.
But the prosecutors said most of the recordings showed the men were ready to act. In one of the recordings, Mr. Cromitie, who was especially voluble, said he wanted to make a “big noise.” Jurors saw recordings of the men inspecting inert bombs and Stinger missile launchers, and scouting Stewart Airport, where they planned to fire missiles at C-5 Galaxy military transport planes. Perhaps most powerfully, the prosecutors showed the court the fake bombs, built by the F.B.I., that Mr. Cromitie left in cars outside the synagogues. They were bundled into bags with 500 ball bearings, which, prosecutors said, were intended to kill.