Man Accused in Synagogue Firebombing Pleads Not Guilty in Prosecutor Murder Plot
Aakash Dalal, the former Lodi man allegedly behind the anti-semitic arsons earlier this year, has pleaded not guilty to additional charges that he plotted to murder the assistant prosecutor in the case.
The former Lodi man who allegedly played a guiding role in the firebombings of Jewish synagogues earlier this year has pleaded not guilty to new charges that he conspired to kill the assistant prosecutor handling his case, authorities said Thursday.
Aakash Dalal, 20, who had been attending Rutgers University and has a New Brunswick address, plotted to obtain a gun and murder Assistant Prosecutor Martin Delaney after he made bail, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said in a statement.
Dalal, who was scheduled to be released from jail this week after arranging to post $1 million bail, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to possess a weapon for unlawful purposes and terroristic threats.
In early May, FBI agents launched an investigation into the possibility Dalal planned to commit arson attacks at federal facilities after being released, authorities said. No definitive signs of more arson attacks were found, but investigators turned up evidence pointing to a plot against the assistant prosecutor, Molinelli said.
"The threat was deemed real and security measures were put into place for the intended victim," Molinelli said.
On Wednesday, FBI agents and prosecutor's office detectives searched Dalal's jail cell.
"Evidence was obtained during said search regarding the plot to kill Assistant Prosecutor Delaney," the prosecutor's statement said. "In addition, evidence of Dalal's anti-government ideals and beliefs that violence against the government is necessary was found, as well as a list of 'enemies' Dalal kept which include Prosecutor Molinelli."
Dalal's bail had been reduced from $1 million from $2.5 million. A judge set additional bail of $3 million on the latest charges, for a total bail of $4 million.
His lawyer told NorthJersey.com that he would seek another bail reduction at a later hearing.
Dalal had previously been charged with aggravated arson, conspiracy to commit aggravated arson and bias intimidation in connection with the firebombings for allegedly showing Anthony Graziano, the teen who allegedly carried out the attacks, how to make the Molotov cocktails used in firebombings of Congregation K'hal Adath Jeshurun in Paramus and Congregation Beth El in Rutherford.
While Dalal wasn't present for the two firebombing incidents and a third attempt at the Jewish Community Center in Paramus, Molinelli said Dalal played a direct role in showing Graziano, a friend since middle school, how to carry out the attacks and in encouraging him to do so.
"Mr. Dalal was actually the instigator of these incidents," Molinelli said in March.
During an investigation of Dalal's apartment at the time of his arrest in March, investigators found a blueprint of a school in Camden County marked for another attack and labeled “Project Anarchy."