National Security

After 2 mistrials, U.S. gets convictions in Miami terror case

MIAMI — Federal jurors Tuesday finally reached verdicts in the Bush-era terrorism case of six Miami men charged with conspiring with al Qaida to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago and other major buildings.

The jury returned guilty verdicts against five of the men; a sixth defendant was acquitted.

On trial were Narseal Batiste, 35; Patrick Abraham, 29; Stanley Grant Phanor, 33; Rotschild Augustine, 25; Burson Augustin, 24, and Naudimar Herrera, 25.

The indictment charged the Liberty City Six with four counts of conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization; provide material support to terrorists; destroy buildings with explosives; and levy war against the U.S. government in a seditious act.

Batiste was found guilty on all four counts. Jurors also convicted all the other defendants but Herrera on the two material support counts.

Combined, the four conspiracy counts carry up to 70 years in prison.

The racially mixed jury decided whether the six inner-city men conspired with the global terrorist organization to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago and FBI buildings across the country.

Before the jury convened anew May 5, U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard had to replace two jurors with alternates because one was ill and another refused to participate in the deliberations.

The original deliberations began April 27 after a two-month trial. The first two trials, in 2007 and 2008, ended with jurors deadlocked on six of the defendants and the acquittal of a seventh defendant.

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