Miami bomb plot suspects "entrapped," lawyers say

Reuters | Mon Jun 26, 2006

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Seven men charged with conspiring to bomb the Sears Tower in Chicago and the FBI building in Miami were entrapped by a federal informant, lawyers for two of the suspects said on Monday.

An indictment issued last week accused the men of pledging loyalty to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda and seeking the group's support to "wage war" against the U.S. government.

The person they thought was an al Qaeda representative was actually an FBI informant, U.S. Justice Department officials said.

Albert Levin, the court-appointed attorney for suspect Patrick Abraham, said he believes his client was ensnared by the informant.

There was "a lot of talking going on by the informant and more listening by the defendant and or the defendants," Levin told Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly.

Nathan Clarke, a lawyer for another suspect Rotschild Augustine, agreed.

"With respect to my client, from what I can read in the indictment, there's going to be a question of whether there's even sufficient evidence to sustain the burden of proof on conviction," Clarke said.

"If by any chance there's a scintilla of that then, of course, there's going to be the entrapment issue," he said.

"This thing took place over eight months, according to the indictment and at the end of the indictment, it says that this thing became disorganized and nobody had ever done anything or did anything," Clarke said.

Abraham, Augustine and three other men arrested on Thursday in Miami appeared briefly in a magistrate's court on Friday.

Another suspect arrested in Atlanta made his initial court appearance there on Friday. The seventh suspect, arrested in the Miami area earlier last week on a probation violation, was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.