Verdict with Cheese

December 23, 2008

So, as far as I can tell, the jury in the pizza jihadi trial has determined that five men were conspiring to kill American soldiers at Fort Dix, but that they didn’t really mean to hurt anybody.

Do I have that right? If you convict the accused men of conspiracy but acquit them of attempted murder, where does that leave us? If they were gathering up weapons and preparing to strike Fort Dix, that implies an intent to do something more than inconvenience the soldiers, right? But they weren’t guilty of attempted murder? Weren’t we told last year, when these men were arrested, that the feds had narrowly averted a bloody strike on an American military target? No wonder the jury asked the judge to read a statement saying, “This has been one of the most difficult things that we have ever had to do.” Maybe that’s so, but that’s nothing compared with the work the jurors have created for anyone trying to make sense of the logic of this verdict.

This case has smelled bad right from the start and the outcome stinks. We are left with an ambiguous verdict against five “terrorists” who invited a Philadelphia cop to join them on one of their “training sessions,” who were blatantly led into making provocative moves by a paid FBI informant, and who were leery of the guy egging them on.

Something tells me this case will spend the next few years unraveling in the appeals process.

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