An iPhone buzzes inside a Wynwood restaurant, and Naudimar Herrera's bright brown eyes light up when he sees the caller: the downtown Federal Detention Center.
Naudimar Herrera in front of his parents' Midtown apartment.
Photo by Tim Elfrink
"Patrick, what's up, my brother?" he barks into the phone. "You got to hang in there, man."
On the other end, Patrick Abraham sits in a prison cell that's mostly been his home for the past three years.
Both men were arrested -- along with five others -- as the "Liberty City Seven."
The feds charged them with plotting to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago, saying they wanted to "wage a full ground war on the United States."
After two mistrials, the feds finally notched convictions this past May for five of the defendants. A sixth faces deportation to Haiti.
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Only the slight, 25-year-old Dominican-American Herrera walked free. This week, he'll speak at the sentencing hearings for his former codefendants. He'll even plead for leniency for Narseal Batiste -- the group's leader, whose "stupidity and greed" led to the charges, Herrera says.
"How can I go on living every day knowing my brothers are still locked up over nothing?" he asks.
Then came the mistrials and Herrera's freeing. He has since tried to return to a normal life -- moving back into a shabby midtown apartment with his disabled father, finding work with a pool company, and starting air-conditioner technician classes.