(CN) – Four men were convicted Monday of plotting to bomb Jewish targets and shoot down military aircraft. The alleged leader, David Cromitie, was convicted by a federal jury in Manhattan along with David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen, after several weeks of testimony and a week of deliberation.
The verdict hinged largely on the testimony of FBI informant Shahed Hussain, who told the men he would help them acquire explosives from Pakistani militants, while secretly recording their conversations.
According to trial testimony, Cromitie met Hussain in 2008 and told him he wanted to wage “jihad” in the United States because he was upset by the war in Afghanistan, where his parents had once lived. The Pakistani-born informant told Cromitie that he was involved with the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist group and agreed to discuss plans.
In subsequent meetings, Cromitie and the co-defendants discussed targets, including synagogues and Jewish community centers in the Bronx. Cromitie asked Hussain for surface-to-air missiles and Hussain said he could supply them with C-4 explosives.
The four men were arrested in a nighttime raid in May after leaving cars with dud explosives outside a synagogue and a Jewish center in the Bronx.
Prosecutors called the Monday verdict a victory against homegrown terrorism.
But Onta Williams’ attorney called the verdict a “miscarriage of justice,” and said the men had been victims of entrapment.
The defendants could face up to life in prison for seven counts, including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and attempting to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles.