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Three Convicted In Bronx Temple Plot Receive 25 Year Sentence

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TWC News: Three Convicted In Bronx Temple Plot Receive 25 Year Sentence
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Three men convicted of trying to blow up two synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx were sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison.

James Cromitie, David Williams and Onta Williams learned their fate Wednesday afternoon in a Manhattan courtroom.

Last year, a jury found the three men found guilty of conspiracy and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction.

They were also convicted of plotting to shoot down planes at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y.

The men were arrested in 2009 after receiving blocks of fake C-4 explosives and fake missiles from a paid FBI informant.

Cromitie, who the FBI says was the ringleader, said in court he was sorry and also insisted, as he had all along, that he was set up by the government and its confidential informant.

"I've never been a terrorist and I will never be a terrorist," he said. "I got myself into this stupid mess."

Onta Williams and David Williams, of no relation, also said they were sorry.

"I want to apologize to the people of Riverdale," said David Williams.

Defense attorneys said they were concerned that the FBI had supplied the suspects with decoy weapons and the attack plan.

"We have to look at our Constitution and due process. It's troubling, it is very troubling," said Susanne Brody, Onta Williams' defense attorney.

During sentencing, Judge Colleen McMahon said she was extremely troubled by the government's role in this plot, saying the men were not religious martyrs, but rather thugs for hire.

"Only the government could make a terrorist out of Cromite, a man whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean," said McMahon.

"We are glad she recognized that it was extraordinary and rejected the governments request for a life sentence and gave Mr. Cromite the least possible sentence she could," said Kerry Lawrence, Cromitie's lawyer

The fourth defendants, Laguerre Payen, will be sentenced at a later date.

All four defendants are planning an appeal.

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