Federal action against Americans involved in terror organization
The alleged co-conspirators of a Massachusetts man who had planned to behead free speech activist Pamela Geller this month were charged with conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State group.
The US Justice Department brought the charges Friday against David Wright, aka Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, 25, of Everett, Massachusetts, and Nicholas Rovinski, aka Nuh Amriki aka Nuh al Andalusi, 24, of Warwick, Rhode Island.
According to the Justice Department, Wright was previously charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and was taken into custody. Rovinski was arrested Thursday evening at his home in Rhode Island, and was due to make an appearance in federal court in Boston Friday. The department said in a press release:
Wright and Rovinski are charged with conspiring with each other, unknown conspirators and Usaamah Abdullah Rahim, 26, Wright’s uncle, who lived in Roslindale, Massachusetts, until his death on June 2, 2015. Rahim was shot and killed after he attacked law enforcement officers in a Roslindale parking lot.
The complaint affidavit alleges that, beginning at a date unknown but no later than May 2015, Wright, Rovinski and Rahim conspired to commit attacks and kill persons inside the United States, which they believed would support ISIL’s objectives.
The FBI said that Wright told Rahim to wipe clean his laptop computer and destroy his phone to help cover their tracks.
The DOJ pointed out that the Islamic State, often referred to as ISIL or ISIS, is a "designated foreign terrorist organization."
The affidavit alleges that, in furtherance of that plan, Wright, Rovinski and Rahim conspired to attack and behead a person referred to in the affidavit as “Intended Victim-1,” a resident of New York, who had organized a conference in Garland, Texas, on May 3, 2015, featuring cartoons depicting the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Early on May 31, 2015, Wright and Rahim drove to Rhode Island, picking up Rovinski at his residence in Warwick, Rhode Island, and driving to a Warwick beach to discuss their plot in secrecy.
Geller, who runs the American Freedom Defense Initiative, organized the Garland, Texas, event, which itself was almost attacked by Islamic fundamentalists who believe participants were insulting Islam. They were stopped by a security officer who shot them dead in the parking lot outside the conference center.
The affidavit further alleges that, at approximately 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 2, 2015, Rahim called Wright and advised him, in another guarded conversation, that he had changed plans and that he no longer planned to conduct the attack in New York. Rahim advised Wright that, instead, he intended to attack “those boys in blue” (meaning police officers) locally in Massachusetts either that day or the next day. Wright urged him to first wipe his laptop computer and to destroy his phone so that they could not be searched by law enforcement and urged him to make a will.