Commentary: End case against Liberty City Six

January 28, 2009 

This editorial appeared in The Miami Herald.

It is time for a reality check in the terror-conspiracy trial of the Liberty City Six, formerly called the Liberty City Seven. Federal prosecutors in Miami on Tuesday began questioning more than 200 prospective jurors for a possible two-month trial in the case, which has been rejected twice by previous juries. It is not too late for prosecutors to make a level-headed judgment: Stop the charade and negotiate a plea deal the defendants can accept – and that ends this case.

This misbegotten case began in June 2006, when then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced from Washington, D.C. – not Miami – that the government had arrested seven members of a "homegrown" terrorist cell in Liberty City. "We clearly believe there's sufficient information, sufficient facts, to support this prosecution," Mr. Gonzales said. "We took action when we did because we believe we have an obligation to prevent America from another attack here."

It turns out that two juries closely examined those facts and pronounced them insufficient to justify a conviction against six of the men. The evidence was so porous that the seventh defendant was acquitted of all charges. Nobody in America wants to aid and abet terrorists, so when disinterested citizens invest their time and energy to give the government their best judgment on the evidence, the government ought to listen. Closely.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald.

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