Openings set in Arizona bombing trial for brothers

AP News
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Posted: Jan 12, 2012 4:06 AM
Openings set in Arizona bombing trial for brothers

Attorneys were set to give opening statements Thursday in the federal trial of two white supremacist brothers from Illinois accused of bombing a black city official in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale.

The jury in the trial of twin brothers Dennis and Daniel Mahon was chosen this week following years of delays because of the extensive amount of evidence in the cases.

The evidence includes years of video and audio recordings of the Mahons' interactions with an attractive female government informant recruited to befriend the brothers.

The 61-year-old brothers have pleaded not guilty in the Feb. 26, 2004, bombing in which a package detonated in the hands of Don Logan, Scottsdale's diversity director at the time. The package injured Logan's hand and arm and hurt a secretary.

The brothers are charged with conspiracy to damage buildings and property by means of explosive, and Dennis Mahon also is charged with malicious damage of a building by means of explosive and distribution of information related to explosives.

The Mahons were arrested in June 2009 after making admissions to the government informant over a period of years.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives recruited the informant, a civilian 20 years younger than the Mahons, because of her good looks. They had her stay in a trailer at campground in Catoosa, Okla., where the brothers were staying at the time.

The woman, identified in court records as Rebecca Williams, struck up a friendship with the Mahons by displaying the Confederate flag, dressing in tank tops and shorts and talking about a fictitious plan to hurt a child molester that she knew.

She had periodic conversations with the men over the next few years and even sent them at least two racy photos of herself, taken by the ATF unbeknownst to the brothers.

One photo showed Williams in a leather jacket, fishnet stockings and a thong that completely exposed her buttocks, along with a note that said, "Thought you'd love the butt shot." The other showed her in a revealing white bikini top with a grenade hanging between her breasts as Williams posed in front of a pickup truck and a swastika.

Dennis Mahon opened up to Williams as the government recorded their conversations. Mahon showed Williams how to make bombs and bragged about bombing a Jewish community center, an Internal Revenue Service building, an immigration facility, and an abortion clinic, according to court records. Those claims have not been corroborated.

Mahon also talked to Williams about the Scottsdale bombing, telling her that he didn't do it but convinced white police officers to do it.

"I just wanted to teach (Logan) a lesson the first time," Mahon said, according to court records.

The government also is accusing him of calling the diversity office five months before the bombing and leaving a message that said: "The white Aryan resistance is growing in Scottsdale. There's a few white people who are standing up."

Mahon's attorneys argued that the government's conduct in the case was "outrageous" entrapment and coercion, and that some of the charges should be thrown out.

Prosecutors argued that Williams never kissed or had sex with either brother, and Judge David Campbell ruled in October 2010 that although Mahon "developed a strong physical and emotional attraction to her," their relationship did not rise to the level of a constitutional violation that warranted dismissing charges.

As for the claims Mahon made to Williams, defense attorney Milagros Cisneros argued in court that Mahon "often makes exaggerated self-aggrandizing claims" that aren't true, that he was an alcoholic who constantly was drinking Everclear, and that his statements to Williams were just meant to impress her.

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