Pennsylvania terrorism trial starts for N. Salem man
The federal trial of a North Salem man accused in a gas pipeline attack plot got underway Monday in Scranton.
Authorities claim 49-year-old Michael Reynolds intended to blow up a major pipeline that runs from the Gulf coast through Pennsylvania to New York and New Jersey.
They say he thought he would receive $40,000 from al-Qaida for "future services." Officials also say Reynolds thought the attack would cause President Bush to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.
Reynolds was arrested in 2005 after he was caught in an online sting. A Montana woman working with the FBI posed as a member of the terrorist group on the Internet. She will testify for the prosecution and claims to have e-mails from Reynolds asking for a fake passport. In the e-mails, Reynolds also reportedly expressed concern that he would be sentenced to death as a traitor.
However, Reynolds maintains he was trying to flush out terrorists himself. He is defending himself with assistance from a court-appointed lawyer.
Records show Reynolds, who graduated from North Salem High School in 1976, tried to blow up his parents' home with a makeshift propane bomb in 1979.