Government exhibit showing Abdul Kadir, one of two men charged...

Government exhibit showing Abdul Kadir, one of two men charged in a 2007 plot to attack Kennedy Airport. Credit: Handout

A defense lawyer for accused Kennedy Airport terror plot leader Russell DeFreitas portrayed her client as a hapless, hopeless big-talker who never actually intended to blow up fuel tanks and pipelines during closing arguments Monday in Brooklyn federal court.

"Russell DeFreitas is man with a small mind, a big mouth and an ugly imagination," said his attorney, Mildred Whalen. "But those are character flaws, not crimes . . . This was not a conspiracy. This was just a lot of stupid, ugly talk."

But prosecutor Zainab Ahmed argued that DeFreitas was seething with anger against the United States and Israel, and who lit the fuse on a plan that could have posed a dangerous threat.

"The years Russell DeFreitas has spent in this country . . . have left him resentful and angry, and they boiled over into concrete action," Ahmad argued. "He made it clear that nothing less than the airport's total devastation would satisfy him."

DeFreitas, 67, a Guyanese-American former Kennedy cargo worker living in Brooklyn, and Abdul Kadir, 58, a former mayor in Guyana, are charged with multiple conspiracy counts in the plot to attack jet fuel tanks and pipelines in 2006 and 2007.

The trial began a month ago, and featured testimony and secretly recorded tapes from an FBI mole who posed as a plotter for a year. DeFreitas and Kadir both face life in prison.

Whalen said DeFreitas' various odd schemes - from using "ninjas" or "rats" in the attack to recruiting al-Qaida operatives - were something out of a video-game fantasy. "These guys have seen too many Bruce Willis movies and don't have enough to fill their time," she scoffed.

But prosecutor Marshall Miller, in rebuttal, told the jurors, "I don't think you'll be surprised to learn that people who commit crimes don't have to be rocket scientists. Nobody ever stood up here and told you Russell DeFreitas was James Bond, Osama bin Laden or Al Capone."

Kadir took the stand in his own defense, and testified that he never joined the plot, but strung DeFreitas along on tapes pretending to participate in hopes they would cooperate in business ventures - an argument prosecutors dismissed.

"This isn't junior high school," Miller said. "You can't say 'I had my fingers crossed behind my back.' That isn't a defense."

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