Judge reneges 9/11 trial for bridge bomb plot suspects - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Judge reneges 9/11 trial for bridge bomb plot suspects


The five men indicted in the Cleveland area bridge bomb plot appeared in Akron Federal Court Thursday for a detention hearing.

Judge David Dowd Jr. originally set the trial date for Sept. 11 until the defense complained it was highlighting terrorism on the day of the nation's most deadly attack in history. Judge Dowd reneged the date and pushed it back to Sept. 17 then stated it was set in cement.

Lawyers for the group indicated they may ask for a change in venue and have not yet asked for bond for their clients.

Prosecutors indicated they have 30 cd's, audio and video recordings, comprising between 35 and 50 hours of evidence including video recordings made the night of the bombing attempt.

Last Monday, the suspects pled not guilty to attempting to blow up a bridge along Route 82 near Brecksville, Ohio.

All five men face identical charges: one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction to destroy property used in interstate commerce, one count of conspiracy to use of a weapon of mass destruction to destroy property used in interstate commerce and one count of attempted use of an explosive device to damage or destroy real property used in interstate commerce.

Indicted are Douglas L. Wright, 26, of Indianapolis; Brandon L. Baxter, 20, of Lakewood, Ohio; Anthony Hayne, 35, of Cleveland; Connor C. Stevens, 20, of Berea, Ohio, and Joshua S. Stafford, of Cleveland.

 According to the indictment, the five men conspired between Feb. 20 and April 30, 2012 to use two improvised explosive devices containing C-4 plastic explosives on the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge.

"The indictment in this case alleges that the defendants took specific and defined actions to further a terrorist plot," Dettelbach said. "The defendants stand charged based not upon any words or beliefs they might espouse, but based upon their own plans and actions."

"The safety of the citizens of the Northern District of Ohio is and continues to be our primary focus.  The individuals charged in this plot were intent on using violence to express their ideological views," Anthony said.  "The Joint Terrorism Task Force will continue to be vigilant in its efforts to detect and disrupt any terrorism threat, domestic or international."

This case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Duncan Brown and was investigated by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. 

Agencies represented on the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force include:  Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office, Federal Air Marshal Service, Cleveland Police Department, Cleveland Heights Police Department, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Intelligence, Westlake Police Department, U.S. Diplomatic Security Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, RTA Police, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Transportation Security Administration, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Shaker Heights Police Department, North Olmstead Police Department, US Postal Inspectors, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.   Assistance was also provided by the U.S. National Park Service Park Rangers, Sagamore Hills Police Department and Brecksville Police Department, and the Summit County Sheriff's Office.  

An indictment is merely an accusation.  All defendants are presumed innocent of the charges until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court. 

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