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Mass. man found guilty of conspiring to murder anti-Islam activist for Islamic State

By Ray Downs

Oct. 19 (UPI) -- A 28-year-old Massachusetts man was found guilty of providing material support to the Islamic State and conspiring to behead a prominent anti-Islam activist, the Department of Justice said Wednesday.

In addition to a conviction of supporting the terrorist organization, David Daoud Wright was convicted of conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries; conspiracy to obstruct justice; and obstruction of justice.

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"Mr. Wright intended to wage war against the United States on behalf of ISIS," said Acting U.S. Attorney Weinreb. "Despite the fact that he was born and raised in Massachusetts, Mr. Wright swore allegiance to ISIS, a foreign terrorist organization, and plotted attacks that he hoped would cause more harm than the Boston Marathon Bombings.

Wright was indicted in April 2016 along with Nicholas Alexander Rovinski, who previously pleaded guilty to the charges.

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Their saga began around February 2015, when Wright began discussing Islamic State's "call to kill non-believers in the United States" with Rovinski and Wright's uncle, Usaamah Abdullah Rahim, the DOJ said.

The three also planned to behead Pamela Geller, an anti-Islam activist known for promoting a contest to draw cartoons of Muhammad, in New York City.

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Around this time, Wright began to draft documents for a "Martyrdom Operations Cell" and searched online for information about firearms, tranquilizers and secret militias. He also began communicating online with an Islamic State member overseas named Junaid Hussain, who was killed months later in August 2015 during an airstrike in Syria.

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But police caught onto the actions of Wright and Rovinksi when Boston police approached Rahim for questioning on June 2, 2015 due to a tip that he was conspiring to attack police officers. The questioning led to a confrontation and Rahim, 26, was killed.

According to the Boston Herald, Wright's attorney, Jessica Hedges, said her client was an "incredibly idiotic" and lonely "fanboy" of Islamic State whose obsession with video games induced him to think about real-life terrorism.

"He was a complex human being, like most of us," Hedges said. "But he is not what the government is making him out to be. He is not a terrorist. Never was ... This is what makes America America. We can speak our minds without being called a criminal for it."

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Wright has yet to be sentenced but faces life in federal prison.

After the verdict, Geller tweeted a response to her 164,000 followers.

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"Thank you to courageous jurors who convicted Muslim ringleader OF ALL COUNTS in plot to BEHEAD ME. [God] bless you," she wrote.

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