Defense decries US tactics as terrorism retrial begins

The Bush administration was so eager to make a high-profile terrorism case that paid FBI informants were used to trump up evidence against six men accused of plotting to destroy Chicago's Sears Tower and bomb FBI offices, a defense attorney said Friday as the group's retrial began. The first trial of the "Liberty City Seven" - so named because of the impoverished Miami neighborhood where the lived - ended in December in a hung jury for six defendants and the acquittal of a seventh. That man was nevertheless being deported to Haiti because of the accusations. Several jurors in the first case called the government's evidence thin. Ana M. Jhones, an attorney for alleged ringleader Narseal Batiste, told the new, racially mixed jury of seven men and five women that the FBI agents and prosecutors sought to build a case at any cost against the men from Miami's impoverished Liberty City neighborhood. "This was about desperation - desperation to justify something that never happened," Jhones said in her opening statement in the case involving the men, most of whom have ties to Haiti. "We have a fabrication, a setup, of six young black men from Liberty City."