Terrorism retrial jury selection begins in Miami


Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 11:54 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 11:54 a.m.

MIAMI - Jury selection began Monday for the retrial of six men charged with conspiring with al-Qaida to destroy Chicago's Sears Tower and blow up FBI offices around the country.

The first trial of the so-called "Liberty City Seven" ended in December in a hung jury for six of the suspects and acquittal for one.

The man who was acquitted, Lyglenson Lemorin, is being deported to his native Haiti but is expected to testify for the defense in this second trial.

Jury selection is likely to take two weeks or more for the heavily publicized case. U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard ordered that jurors' identities be kept secret. Jurors will be driven to and from the courthouse by federal marshals.

Prosecutors say the alleged ringleader, 33-year-old Narseal Batiste, plotted with two men he thought had al-Qaida connections to blow up the 110-story Sears Tower and attack FBI offices in Miami and several other cities.

The two men were FBI informants. One of them, known to the group as "Brother Mohammed," led the men in pledging loyalty to al-Qaida in a ceremony videotaped by the FBI.

Batiste testified in the first trial that he was never serious about the plot and only went along in hopes of extorting $50,000 from the purported al-Qaida man.

If convicted on four conspiracy and material support charges, the six remaining defendants face up to 70 years in prison. They are all from Miami's impoverished Liberty City neighborhood.

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