A New York man was convicted Friday of plotting to kill Muslims and President Barack Obama with a mobile X-ray device. The jury rejected his lawyer’s argument that he was entrapped by the FBI.
Jurors deliberated for two hours before finding Glendon Scott Crawford guilty of attempting to produce a deadly radiological device — dubbed a “death ray” by the press, conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and distributing information about weapons of mass destruction.
Crawford, a KKK member and industrial mechanic at General Electric in Schenectady, could face 25 years to life in prison. Sentencing is set for Dec. 15 at the federal court in Albany.
Police arrested Crawford and his alleged accomplice Eric Feight in 2013 and charged them in the plot to douse a mosque and Muslim school in the Albany area with radiation. The 51-year-old Crawford has been jailed since his arrest two years ago.
A recording of a May 2012 conversation between the two played at the trial detailed their conspiracy to attack the White House with the weapon, Reuters reported.
“Glendon Scott Crawford was a terrorist who attempted to acquire a weapon of mass destruction and to use it to kill innocent members of the Muslim community,” Richard Hartunian, US attorney for the northern district of New York, said, according to Reuters.
Defense attorney Kevin Luibrand said they will file a notice of appeal after the sentencing.
“They had 60 hours of undercover materials, which made it very difficult to mount an effective defense,” he said.
Assistant US Attorney Richard Belliss said investigators began tracking Crawford in 2012 after he approached two local Jewish groups with his technological idea for how they could defeat their enemies. They also learned Crawford sought support for the device in 2013 from a Ku Klux Klan grand wizard in North Carolina, who was an FBI informant. That was something the agents and undercover investigators didn’t initially know about, he said.
Bellis on Friday played the first secretly taped conversation of Crawford with another FBI informant in which Crawford said, “I think Islam is an opportunist infection of DNA” and “Radiation poisoning is a beautiful thing.”
According to the prosecutor, Crawford’s tireless pursuit of the plan drove the investigation. The evidence showed he was “cold, calculated” and “committed.” He was not “cartoonish” or “a goofy simpleton,” as the defense suggested, the prosecutor said.