4 terror plot suspects back in court

The four men accused of conspiring to bomb two Jewish sites in the Bronx and shoot down military aircraft in Westchester appeared before a judge Friday for a preliminary hearing.

James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen, of Newburgh, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a slew of conspiracy charges, including conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction and acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles to attack planes at the Stewart Air National Guard base in Newburgh.

The four suspects were taken into custody May 20 after allegedly planting what they thought were bombs in front of Riverdale Temple and Riverdale Jewish Center in the Bronx. Investigators say the mock explosives were provided to the suspects by an FBI informant.

During Friday's hearing at the White Plains Federal Courthouse, Payen's attorney claimed her client could not have be involved in the alleged plot because he suffers from a bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The lawyer also added that Payen cannot stand trial due to his condition.

Prosecutors insist they have hours of recordings in which the suspects, including Payen, can be heard discussing the details of the terror plot.

The suspects' next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 17. If convicted, the four men face life behind bars.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."