Jurors will be asked to decide whether two men, American Russel Defreitas, 66, and Guyanese Abdul Kadir, 58, a former member of parliament in his South American country, joined in a conspiracy to blow up buildings, fuel tanks and pipelines at John F. Kennedy International Airport.The plot originally involved four men, but one of the other two is expected to enter a guilty plea and a fourth was deemed too ill to stand trial.
They face life in prison if convicted by jurors in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. Opening statements in the trial are due to be held on Wednesday.
While New York was the target of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States as well as other plots such as the botched Times Square car bombing in May, relatively few cases involving those incidents actually go to trial.
Of the suspects charged in the 11 plots against New York City that authorities say they have foiled since the September 11 attacks, many have been charged in other countries or have pleaded guilty and avoided trial.
Defreitas had previously worked at the airport as a security guard and was involved in plotting where and how to attack the airport and its facilities. The group is further alleged to have sought assistance from Jamaat Al Muslimeen, an Islamic terror group that had been active in Trinidad.
Abdel Nur entered a guilty plea in court today, and will face 15 years in prison for his role in the terror plot.
Abdel Nur copped to providing material support to co-conspirators a day before he was scheduled to go on trial in Brooklyn Federal Court. Nur faces 15 years in prison under the plea deal approved by prosecutors in Brooklyn and the U.S. Justice Department. He could have gotten life in prison if convicted after a trial.
"I understood the goal of the planning of the destruction of fuel tanks and fuel by planes was to cause major economic loss in the United States," Nur said in court.