federal judge sentenced James Cromitie, 45, David Williams, 30, and Onta Williams, 35, all found guilty of planning to attack two synagogues and to shoot down US military planes, to 25 years each in prison on terrorism charges. The lawyers plan on appealing the charges. The three men were arrested in May of 2009 after a year-long sting operation led by the FBI and an informant who provided the men with three improvised explosive devices and 30 pounds each of inert C-4 plastic explosives. The same judge who sentenced the men also targeted the FBI for what she called "questionable" behavior during the sting operation (Messana). .
"There was no pre-existing plot," said Judge Colleen McMahon after a three-hour hearing in a Manhattan federal court. "The government came upon a man incapable of committing an act of terrorism on his own. I have never heard anything like the facts of this case" (Messana). .
The men planned to plant the IEDs near two synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. They also planned to shoot down military aircraft stationed at the Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York using Stinger surface-to-air missiles. However, they were given the missile by the informant and never purchased more for themselves. Four men were arrested before their plan was carried out. Laguerre Payen has not been sentenced yet (Messana). .
David Raskin, the lead prosecutor, tried for life sentences for all three men, brushing off the FBI's corrupt acts during the sting operation. He acknowledged that Cromitie had never specifically said "Stinger missile" but said, "the fact that it is all fake really does not matter. The fact is, it was a sting operation, but they still had a choice to pull out. Those bombs were fake, but would they have been real, they would have killed lots of people" (Messana). The FBI specifically used a Stinger missile in the plot because it carried a minimum 25 years in prison.