MIAMI, Aug. 24 (UPI) — Removal of a federal juror prevented a third mistrial in the case against five Miami men convicted of conspiring to aid al-Qaida, defense attorneys said.
The attorneys argued that the dismissal of Juror No. 4. by U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard in April 2009 was a major error and led to the eventual conviction of the men, The Miami Herald reported.
A third mistrial would have been declared had Juror No. 4 been allowed to hold out as the minority juror, defense attorneys told the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday.
They asked the court to throw out the convictions and order a new trial for their clients who were arrested in an FBI raid in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood in June 2006.
The five were accused of conspiring to aid al-Qaida to blow up Chicago’s Sears Tower and an FBI office in Miami.
The case was viewed as a prime example of the post-Sept. 11, 2001, law enforcement strategy of stopping terror plots before they got under way.