Friday, December 14, 2007

0 for 7

The trial of the so-called Liberty City 7 goes “phfft.”

A homegrown terrorism case that allegedly sprouted in one of Miami’s poorest neighborhoods wilted on Thursday when a judge declared a mistrial in the prosecution of six of seven defendants.

Federal jurors acquitted one defendant in the so-called Liberty City 7 trial, but they could not agree on any of the terrorism conspiracy counts against the others.

“We believe that no further progress can be made,” the 12-member jury told U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard, ending deliberations after nine days following a two-month trial in Miami. Each, if convicted, would have faced up to 70 years in prison.

The judge ordered a retrial to begin Jan. 7 and issued a gag order.

The jurors found defendant Lyglenson Lemorin not guilty of four terrorism-related conspiracy charges. Lemorin, 32, a Haitian immigrant, cried with his attorney, Joel Defabio, after the verdict, saying they were ”ecstatic.” But Lemorin won’t be immediately released because of immigration issues.

The judge’s decision was seen as a significant defeat for the Justice Department and a temporary victory for most of the defendants, who are still in custody. The U.S. attorney’s office in Miami declined to comment.

Sure, I want law enforcement to investigate and arrest the bad guys, but it was pretty obvious from the git-go that these guys were not exactly Dr. Evil and his minions of criminal masterminds. I’m pretty sure the reason the government went ahead with the prosecution was to send a signal to all those groups out there meeting in someone’s garage or tool shed that they’re watching them. But in the end all it did was prove that they don’t know how to evaluate a real threat by people with the means and the dedication to commit a real act of terror and a bunch of not-too-sharp guys who thought they could rip off the FBI undercover guy, and they can’t even get a conviction on that. Meanwhile Osama bin Laden is still hanging out in the bat cave in Afghanistan and probably laughing his ass off at the Global War on Terror. I’m sure he’s quaking in his boots even more now.