Bronx, NY – The jury in the Bronx synagogue bomb plot case was told Wednesday that the informant who provided the four suspects with phony bombs and missiles was paid $97,000 by the FBI.
The FBI gave Pakistani immigrant Shahed Hussain $44,000 for expenses and $53,000 for “his services” over a three-year period, agent Robert Fuller said.
Fuller, the first prosecution witness in the trial that started Tuesday, showed the jury one of the unexploded bombs the would-be terrorists planned to use to blow up one of two Riverdale synagogues.
Defense lawyers contend that without the informant – who they say entrapped the suspects – their bumbling clients would never have tried to blow up two synagogues in Riverdale and shoot down missiles.
James Cromitie, 44, and co-defendants David Williams, 29, Onta Williams, 34, and Laguerre Payen, 28, were caught in May 2009.
Hussain met them at an upstate mosque, where he was sent by the feds. The trial continues today in Manhattan Federal Court. The four suspects face life in prison if convicted.
Brandishing a shoulder-fire missile launcher and a duffel bag loaded with fake explosives, the FBI agent yesterday showed jurors some of the weapons four upstate men allegedly hoped to use to blow up two Riverdale synagogues and shoot down military aircraft.
Fuller hoisted a deactivated 5-foot-long Stinger missile launcher to his shoulder, clicked off the safety and depressed the trigger during the dramatic demonstration in Manhattan federal court.
Fuller also displayed the contents of a black and tan duffel bag loaded with more than 30 pounds of fake C-4 plastic explosives in its center compartment.
Two other compartments in the bag held a purported cellphone-activated triggering device and a plastic sleeve holding 500 steel ball bearings, he said.
Members of the seven-woman, five-man jury leaned forward in their seats and peered intently during the presentation, which prompted a supporter of the defendants to mutter, “This is bulls- -t.”
Bronx community activist Alicia McWilliams-McCollum — an aunt of defendant David Williams — was later warned by a deputy US marshal to be silent.
Williams and three co-defendants — Onta Williams, Laguerre Payen and accused ringleader James Cromitie — were busted last year after getting caught in an FBI sting.
Fuller testified that the feds had never heard of Cromitie, whom prosecutors portray as a vicious anti-Semite, until a government informant heard him making anti-American statements at a mosque in Newburgh.
The defense contends that the men were entrapped by the informant, Shahed Hussain, a convicted fraudster who Fuller said had received $96,000 in pay and expenses since April 2007.