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Russell Defreitis: Terrorist or Political Prisoner?

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To convict, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt no entrapment was used. In fact, it's a common technique to convict innocent people, targeted for political or other reasons.

Sulzberger said the alleged JFK plot "never advanced beyond the conceptual stage (if that), and the planning sessions, some of which were recorded by a confidential informant, were alternately grandiose and absurd....As in (similar) cases, the threat as officials described it....seemed to exceed the suspects' capacity," let alone their intent.

Moreover, convicted drug trafficker Steven Francis was the informant, recruited in return for leniency, again a commonly used scheme, freed or given reduced sentences for cooperating to entrap. In fact, they're sometimes paid handsomely for services rendered.

US Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf called Defreitas a "homegrown terrorist" planning to cause "unfathomable damage, deaths and destruction." Kadir, a former Guyanese mayor and parliamentary member, was described as a secondary figure, one of several involved in facilitating the plot by providing advice and contacts. It was untrue. 

In fact, during trial, entrapment became clear, Sulzberger saying Francis "played a somewhat enabling (financial and logistical support) role in pushing forward the plot," that wouldn't have existed in any form without him.

On February 17, 2011, New York Times writer Colin Moynihan headlined, "Life Sentence for Leader of Terror Plot at Kennedy," saying:

"Ringleader" Defreitas was sentenced to life imprisonment (as was Kadir) on charges Federal District Court Judge Dora Irizarry called "extremely serious." 

His lawyer, Mildred Whalen called him more disagreeable than dangerous, "a man with a small mind, a big mouth and an ugly imagination." He and others "were more aspirational than operational. Until the government got involved, this was talk" without action, smoke without fire, hyperbole (if that) with no intent.

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