Ku Klux Klan member Glendon Scott Crawford, 51, is being tried for assembling a remote-operated X-ray machine he called ‘Hiroshima on a light switch’. A prosecutor told jurors on Monday the accused intended to put it to use against American Muslims and the president, Reuters reports.
Crawford’s lawyer Kevin Luibrand made a statement in opening arguments at US District Court in Albany, New York State, that his client has no expertise to make the X-ray device, which has been assembled with government’s help by supplying the necessary components through some kind of “criminal” sources.
At the initial stage the project, dubbed by media a ‘death ray’ machine, was nothing but a “piece of paper,” Crawford, an industrial mechanic for General Electric, used to sketch his ideas on, the lawyer said, stressing that his client tried to pull away from the project in the initial stage.
While Luibrand insists that the whole case is an FBI elaborate plot, that the produced device was harmless and no crime otherwise existed, the federal authorities make a point that it was Crawford who initiated the plot, Associated Press reports.
Crawford’s device was finally built using an industrial X-ray machine and electronic beam welders, all components were mounted in a truck. Judge Gary Sharpe ruled that the machine could be shown to jurors.
Crawford and his partner in crime Eric Feight were arrested in 2013 for conspiring to expose to radioactive irradiation an Albany mosque and a Muslim school in neighboring Colonie and have remained in custody ever since.
“[Crawford] has strong political views and he saw Muslim extremism in Europe coming here,” Luibrand said.
Feight is accused of supplying Crawford with necessary components and face up to 15 years in prison after pleaded guilty in 2014 for providing material support to terrorists. It is still not clear whether he is going to testify against Crawford.
The prosecutor also believes that Crawford intended to stage an irradiation attack on the White House and its main occupant. This assumption is made based on a phone recording made in May 2012 in which Crawford used the infamous ‘Hiroshima on a light switch’ designation of his creation.
The chief executive of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, Rodney Margolis, has also testified against Crawford, saying that the suspect proposed Jewish leaders to conduct a “black-bag operation” in order to “kill Israel’s enemies while they slept.”
Crawford’s ideas scared Margolis, who called police immediately, piquing the FBI’s interest in the suspect and setting up surveillance on Crawford’s home. The bureau also deployed an agent to confidentially discuss with Crawford details of his plans, revealed US Attorney Stephen Green.
Crawford faces three separate charges, namely attempting to produce and use a radiological dispersal device, conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and distributing WMD information.