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“I’m ready to do this damn thing,” Cromitie said on one tape. “Anything for the cause.”

Defense attorneys argued the FBI overreached by targeting desperate, down-and-out dupes who were in it only for the petty cash and meals the informant gave them.

Cromitie, they said, constantly wavered and even purposely disappeared for six weeks before finally agreeing to go forward with the plan.

But prosecutors said that in the end, Cromitie “showed up again with renewed vigor” to carry out the plot.

Lawyers for the men had sought to get their convictions thrown out because of entrapment, arguing the government had “created the criminal, then manufactured the crime.”

Judge McMahon, in her ruling, said, “There is some truth to that description of what transpired here.”

But the motion was denied.

The sentencing of a fourth man convicted in the case, Laguerre Payen, has been put off pending the results of a psychiatric evaluation.