Skip to main content

JFK bomb plot trial begins in New York

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two accused of conspiring to blow up JFK's jet-fuel supply tanks, pipeline in 2007
  • A third man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to providing material support to terrorists
  • All three men have been in U.S. custody for the past two years

New York (CNN) -- Opening statements have begun in the New York terrorism case of two men accused of plotting explosions at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Russell DeFreitas and Abdul Kadir are accused of conspiring to blow up JFK's jet-fuel supply tanks and pipeline in 2007.

The trial of the two men is being held before Judge Dora Irizarry at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn.

The men were charged in 2007 with conspiracy to attack a public transportation system, conspiracy to destroy a building with fire and explosives, conspiracy to attack aircraft and aircraft materials, conspiracy to destroy an international airport and conspiracy to attack a mass transportation facility.

Kadir was also charged with surveillance of a transportation facility.

DeFreitas is a United States citizen and former JFK cargo worker. Kadir is a citizen of Guyana who has served as a member of Parliament there.

A third defendant, Abdul Nur, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to providing material support to terrorists. Nur is also from Guyana.

Prosecutors have said the men tapped into an international network of Muslim extremists to develop the plot and start work toward carrying it out.

A criminal complaint accuses the men of obtaining satellite photos of the airport and using DeFreitas to conduct surveillance and identify potential targets and escape routes.

An informant secretly taped conversations in which DeFreitas allegedly described the symbolic importance of targeting JFK, the complaint says.

"Anytime you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to the United States," he allegedly said, according to the complaint. "If you hit that, this whole country will be in mourning. It's like you kill the man twice."

All three men have been in U.S. custody for the past two years after a court in Trinidad and Tobago rejected their attempt to avoid extradition.

Their lawyers had earlier argued that Trinidad and Tobago law does not allow for extradition on terrorism conspiracy charges.

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has said officials were concerned not only about a possible attack on the airport, but also about an attack on the 40-mile aviation fuel pipeline that runs from a fuel tank farm at JFK through Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens.

CNN's Hussein Saddique, Susan Candiotti, Julian Cummings and Nkechi Nneji contributed to this report

 
Quick Job Search