New York: Two Muslim militants plotted to cause more death and destruction than the September 11, 2001, attacks by blowing up John F Kennedy International Airport six years later, federal prosecutors said at the men`s terrorism trial.
"We will ask you to hold them accountable ... for a plan that would have taken innocent lives," Assistant US Attorney Berit Berger said in opening statements in federal court in Brooklyn yesterday.
Lawyers for Russell Defreitas, a naturalised US citizen, and Abdul Kadir, another Muslim defendant from Defreitas` native Guyana, countered by telling the jury that their clients were framed by a government informant.
"Without the government, Russell Defreitas is all sizzle and no steak," said his attorney, Len Kamdang.
Defreitas, 66, a former JFK cargo handler, and Kadir, 58, once a member of Parliament in Guyana, were arrested in 2007 after the informant infiltrated the plot and made a series of secret recordings.
Prosecutors say Defreitas did reconnaissance on the airport, sought the help of a militant Muslim group in Trinidad along with Kadir and dreamt of delivering a devastating economic and psychological blow on a target named after an iconic former US president.
"Anytime you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to the United States," Defreitas was recorded saying, according to court papers. "To hit John F Kennedy, wow. ... They love John F Kennedy like he`s the man. ... If you hit that, this whole country will be in mourning. It`s like you can kill the man twice."
In a guilty plea on Tuesday, a third defendant from Guyana, Abdel Nur, admitted that he provided material support of terrorists.