(Reuters) - A U.S. judge declared a mistrial on Thursday for six men accused of plotting to wage war against the United States and blow up Chicago’s Sears Tower, after jurors acquitted one man but failed to reach verdicts for the others.
Following are some facts about the case.
* The Liberty City Seven, named for the depressed part of Miami where they gathered in a rundown warehouse, were arrested in 2006 on charges of conspiring to overthrow the U.S. government and blow up the 110-story Sears Tower in Chicago, along with several FBI offices and the Miami federal court complex where they were tried.
* Government officials called their arrests an important victory in the war on terrorism and the indictment said they aspired to carry out attacks “just as good or greater than 9/11.” But Deputy FBI Director John Pistole said at the time their plans were “aspirational rather than operational.”
* Other government agents said the defendants posed no real threat because they had no actual al Qaeda contacts or means of carrying out attacks.
* Accused ringleader Narseal Batiste testified he never asked al Qaeda for money and made up stories of plotting to bring down the Sears Tower to con government informants who posed as Middle Eastern contacts out of $50,000. Batiste said he wanted the money to build a nonprofit religious organization and community outreach program in Liberty City.
* Other defendants were Patrick Abraham, Stanley Grant Phanor, Naudimar Herrera, Burson Augustin, Lyglenson Lemorin and Rotschild Augustine.
* The government’s main evidence was drawn from 15,000 audio and videotaped conversations made by paid FBI informants.
* The defendants met at the warehouse, which they called “the temple” or “the embassy,” to practice martial arts and study religious texts, but their lawyers scoffed at depictions of them as Islamist extremists.
Writing by Paul Grant, Washington Editorial Reference Unit, Editing by Jane Sutton