Defense tries to cast doubt on informant during New Jersey missile sale trial

(02/09/05) NEWARK ? The trial of a man accused of trying to sell shoulder-fired missiles to a terrorist group continued Wednesday as defense lawyers tried to cast doubts on the government?s case.

Prosecutors say 69-year-old Hemant Lakhani attempted to sell the weapons, for the purpose of bringing down passenger airplanes, to an undercover government informant. However, Lakhani?s lawyers say the informant is far from being a reliable source.

Defense lawyers told jurors that Lakhani is not the weapons expert portrayed by the government. The defense pointed out instances during Lakhani?s meetings with the informant in which he did not know specifics about plutonium or night vision goggles.

In addition, Lakhani?s lawyers insinuated that the government informant?s mastery of the English language was better than he let on. The informant has been testifying through a translator. At one point, the defense asked the witness why he corrected the interpreter if he did not understand English.

Related stories: Secret recordings fuel prosecution's argument during arms deal trial in Newark Trial resumes in Newark for the suspect in the shoulder-fired missile case

 

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