Officials say Batiste later told the informant, "He wanted to wage a full ground war against the United States" in order "to kill all the devils we can" in a mission that would "be just as good or greater than 9/11" beginning with the destruction of the Sears Tower.
But as in the first trial, defense lawyers argued the men had no intention of carrying out the attacks, that they were extremely poor and only went along with Assad so that they could con him out of the thousands of dollars he had offered to provide.
"A number of jurors really believed that these guys were just scam artists looking to make money," recalled former jury foreman Agron, who himself did not believe the scam defense but said, "We just couldn't get around that."
Agron said he thought some of the men technically violated the law by providing material support to a terrorist organization, by taking the pictures of the U.S. government buildings and taking the al Qaeda oath but said, "You know whether these guys were real bad terrorist type of guys, you know, I think they probably weren't."
In closing arguments for the second trial, the Miami Herald quoted prosecutor Richard Gregory as telling jurors, "These are not people saying 'No.' These are people who are dedicated soldiers -- dedicated to overthrowing the United States."
"It's clear that these folks were just trying to get some money," legal expert Sonnett said. "They didn't have the wherewithal; they didn't have the training; they didn't have the experience; they didn't have the equipment to bring off a sophisticated plot to blow up the Sears Tower."
"I think there is a real issue of prosecutorial discretion here. Was this worth prosecuting a second time?" law professor Winick asked.
The 12-member jury is now in the 12th day of deliberations.