Shouting "Free the land!" radicals charged with robbery and murder in last October's Brink's heist refused to participate in pretrial hearings yesterday, saying they did not recognize the state's right to try them.
"I do not plan to participate in this proceeding because the purpose is to criminalize freedom fighters and I am not a criminal," said defendant Judith Clark, 31.
Five defendants, former members of the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army, were brought from the Rockland County Jail under heavy security.
They were charged with the $1.6 million armored car holdup at a Nanuet shopping mall in which a Brink's guard was killed. Two police officers were slain at a shootout at a roadblock a few miles away.
Clark, David Gilbert and Donald Weems told state Supreme Court Justice Robert Stolarik that he had no jurisdiction over them.
Stolarik adjourned the proceedings until tomorrow, indicating that he would conduct the hearings despite the defendants' objections.
Defendants Samuel Brown and Kathy Boudin did not indicate whether they would participate.
As the proceeding got under way, demonstrators marched in front of the courthouse, chanting, "Who are the murderers? The FBI!" Police on rooftops took photographs and sharpshooters in riot helmets looked on.
The FBI has said the robbery was part of a conspiracy by terrorists who financed their activities through bank robberies and armored car heists.