Boston – Two men pleaded not guilty Friday to conspiring to support the Islamic State group in a plot to kill a conservative blogger who has angered Muslims.
David Wright, 25, of Everett, Massachusetts, and Nicholas Rovinski, 24, of Warwick, Rhode Island, entered the pleas in federal court in Boston.
Both were indicted Thursday on charges of conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization by plotting with Boston terror suspect Usaamah Rahim, 26, to behead blogger Pamela Geller. The plot wasn’t carried out.
Rahim was killed by investigators who say he lunged at them with a knife in Boston on June 2 when they approached him to talk about a recorded phone conversation.
In the phone conversation, authorities say, Rahim told Wright he had changed his mind about killing Geller and now wanted to kill police officers. Rahim’s family has questioned that account.
Wright and Rovinski will remain in custody until at least a status conference, which is set for July 29.
Wright also pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Authorities say he urged Rahim to destroy his phone and wipe his computer.
An FBI affidavit says the men targeted Geller after she organized a conference in Texas in May featuring cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims generally believe any physical depiction of the Prophet Muhammad is blasphemous.
Two men showed up with assault rifles at the conference and began firing. Police shot and killed them.
Days later, the Islamic State group publicly condemned Geller and called for her to be killed.