Prosecutors and Defense make opening statements in GC bomb plot trial

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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) “The cockroaches got to go.”
That’s how the United States Attorney’s Office began it’s opening statements Tuesday quoting one of three men accused of plotting to bomb an apartment complex in Garden City.

Investigators said Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen plotted for months to put homemade bombs near an apartment complex in Garden City filled with Somali immigrants who were Muslim.

Investigators said the group was intercepted and arrested before they were able to carry out their plan.

The attorney for the government, Risa Berkower, said the cockroach statement was just one of many statements Stein, Wright and Allen made when talking about Muslims in America, which the government argued was something that disgusted the men.

They argued that was their reason for planning to plot bombs near the apartment complex and kill everyone inside.

It wasn’t just words, according to the government. The attorney argued the three men put those words into actions. She said the men tested many different explosives and created bombs and detonators all while planning a specific date and location for their crimes.

She said the men planned to attack the complex during the Muslim prayer time.
“You don’t have to take my word of what this conspiracy was all about. You’ll hear it,” the government’s attorney said to the jury.

That statement was referencing what the government says is hours of recordings taken by an informant. The informant, according to the government, was a man who was in the same militia group as Stein, Wright and Allen and decided to stick with them in their plan in order to record it for the FBI.

But according to the defense attorneys, the informant was the one pushing the plot along.
Richard Federico, the attorney for Curtis Allen, said the informant was part of an FBI plot to take down the three men because of their beliefs and their thoughts.

Though the US Attorney’s Office said they were focusing on actions, Federico said he sees the opposite and that the FBI made the entire process happen.

When referencing the bomb plot, Federico said, “It was never going to happen and it couldn’t have happened.”

An attorney for one of three Kansas militia members accused of plotting to blow up an apartment complex where Somali immigrants lived says that other members of the militia didn’t tell authorities about it because “none of them ever took the talk seriously.”

Allen’s attorney also addressed the hours of audio recordings that were made without the men’s knowledge saying despite all the recordings, some were still missing and the FBI hand picked certain recordings to play so the jury won’t get to hear them all.

Federico says the informant was on mission to infiltrate militia groups and the FBI used him to target the men and the plot wouldn’t have happened.

“There was no bomb. There was never any weapon of mass destruction,” he said.
Stein’s attorney, Jim Pratt, also said none of the plot would have happened without an informant paid by the FBI. He focused on the thousands of dollars paid to the informant as well as the money paid to Allen’s then-girlfriend who reported the men were making bombs to police.

“Patrick Stein is not guilty,” were the first words out of Pratt’s mouth in his opening statements.

Pratt said though jurors may not like Stein by the end of the trial for his hate and what he’s said, he told jurors they have to address whether he committed a crime and only that. He said he wouldn’t insult the jurors by trying to deny that Stein can be hateful and offensive, but that’s not a crime.