A state appeals court upheld the convictions on Thursday of two men previously convicted for a monthlong spree of antisemitic crimes in northern New Jersey, including the firebombing of two synagogues.
Aakash Dalal and Anthony Graziano, now in their late 20s, were found guilty in separate trials of more than a dozen counts, for a string of 2011-2012 attacks that also included throwing Molotov cocktails into a rabbi’s home as he and his family slept.
The court rejected the pair’s arguments for suppressing a confession by Graziano — in which he admitted to targeting the synagogues because of his hatred of Jews — and evidence from a search of Dalal’s jail cell. Their crimes also included vandalizing other synagogues, with spray paint messages such as “Jews did 9/11.”
Their lawyers also argued that the New Jersey Anti-Terrorism Act was unconstitutionally vague, which the court rejected.
“A jury could reasonably conclude that defendants engaged in a campaign of actions to instill fear in the Jewish community,” the court wrote, in upholding the application of the anti-terrorism law. “Defendants were on clear notice that such a campaign would be correctly perceived as terrorism because its purpose was to instill fear in people of the Jewish faith.”
“The Jews got what they deserved tonight,” Dalal messaged Graziano after one night of vandalism, according to court documents. After the pair set fires at Temple Beth El in Rutherford, Graziano wrote, “i would of killed them … if i had a torch lighter, they would of been dead … i like molotovs though” [sic].
Dalal and Graziano are both already serving 35-year sentences in state prisons.
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Author: Algemeiner Staff
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