AKRON, Ohio - The trial for five men charged with plotting to bomb a bridge was pushed back a week from Sept. 11 after the defense complained Thursday that the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks would highlight terrorism concerns and taint the jury.
U.S. District Court Judge David Dowd in Akron agreed to move the trial to Sept. 17.
A defense attorney, John Pyle, said he will ask that the trial be held away from Cleveland and Akron. The highway bridge targeted by the alleged bomb plot sits between the two cities in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
The suspects are described by the government as self-proclaimed anarchists. They have pleaded not guilty.
One defense attorney has said it's a case of entrapment, in which an FBI informant guided the process.
Authorities said they arrested the men last month when they tried to detonate what was actually a fake explosive provided by a paid FBI informant. The FBI said the public was never in danger.
The judge gave the defense until May 21 to request bond for the defendants, Douglas L. Wright, 26, of Indianapolis; Brandon L. Baxter, 20, of Lakewood; Connor C. Stevens, 20, of suburban Berea; and Joshua S. Stafford, 23, and Anthony Hayne, 35, both of Cleveland.
The five have been locked up without bond since their arrest last month.
Attorneys for Baxter and Stevens asked the judge to order a probation department investigation of their homes to determine if the locations would be acceptable in the event they are released with electronic monitors. The judge rejected the request pending the filing of motions to grant release on bond.
The five had been associated with Occupy Cleveland, but organizers of the movement have tried to distance the group from the men. They say the five didn't represent it or its nonviolent philosophy.
Each defendant was charged with three counts, including a charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction to destroy property in interstate commerce and could face life in prison if convicted.
The men allegedly acted out of anger against corporate America and the government, authorities said. They considered blowing up the bridge at night or clearing it of traffic by pretending to be a construction crew to limit casualties, authorities said in court papers.
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