A homegrown terrorism case that allegedly sprouted in one of Miami’s poorest neighborhoods wilted yesterday when a judge declared a mistrial for six of seven defendants, reports the Miami Herald. 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. Judge Joan Lenard ordered a Jan. 7 retrial.
The group was arrested in June 2006 amid much fanfare by the Bush administration, which described the defendants as ”dangerous” as al Qaeda — despite evidence showing they had no terrorism blueprints or weapons of mass destruction. The FBI declared the indictment “yet another important victory in the war on terrorism.” The defendants — a struggling group of construction laborers who tried to start a religious group — were charged with conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, destroy buildings with explosives and break away from the U.S. The jury foreman said the panel was ”evenly split” on the four terrorism conspiracy counts. Some jurors thought the defendants were trying to con thousands of dollars out of an FBI-directed informant, who infiltrated the group and led the seven men deeper into the alleged terrorism plot.