A conservative blogger can rest a little more comfortable tonight as a jury has found the man threatening to kill her guilty on all counts. The charges against David Wright included “…conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries.”
He was among a group of three men plotting to behead Pamela Geller. She is a well-known writer who put together a cartoon contest around the Prophet Muhammad.
Wright, who also uses the name Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, plotted to kill Geller in the name of ISIS. During his trial, his role in the plot was downplayed as being a fantasy or just a game. His actions did not line up with this contention as he was the one who recruited to others to help. Wright asked his uncle Ussamah Rahim and friend Nicholas Rovinski to help with the killing. Nicholas Rovinski also uses the names Nuh Amriki and Nuh al Andalusi.
The plot to kill Geller was hatched in 2015. She had put together a variety of events all over the United States as a way to bring attention to Islamic extremism. One of these events ended in gunfire as Texas protestors attacked security for the event. Two gunmen were killed that day after wounding a security guard. Geller’s ties to the Texas event spurred the plot to kill her.
Wright rallied support from both Rahim and Rovinski. They also had help from a group outside of the United States. They received instructions about how to carry out the Boston attack against Geller from Junaid Hussain. He was a member of the Islamic State and a well-known hacker. He was killed after this plot in an airstrike in Syria. Hussain was the group’s connection to ISIS.
Even though Wright contends that his efforts to kill Geller were not a real plan, there was a great of evidence that said otherwise. He did significant research online for guns, swords and even drugs to knock someone out. He also downloaded a variety of Islamic State documents and used social media to share his beliefs. At one point, Wright created a Twitter account to recruit members for what he called a “martyrdom operation cell.”
As the planned attack grew near, Rahim secured three knives for the trio. He carried three large knifes to kill Geller in Boston, and this evidence helped the state prove that this plan was far more than the fantasy of Wright. As William Weinreb, the acting U.S. attorney for Massachusetts shared “…these were not just words, as the defense argued. This wasn’t fantasy. It was real.”
Things got very real quickly as Rahim was shot at the start of the plan. He lunged at authorities with a knife and ended up dying in the confrontation. This put an end to the plan to behead Geller.
It was not clear how far the trio was willing to go to carry out bloodshed in the name is ISIS. The original target was Geller, but Rahim had also suggested they go against the police as well. They may not have been happy with killing just Geller.
Even as Rahim was killed and Geller lived in fear for her life, the defense made several attempts to paint Wright as the most significant victim. They wanted the jury to see the 500 pound Wright as a misunderstood young man who merely needed something to do. He testified that this again was a fantasy and not something tied to terrorism.
Wright even went as far as testifying through tears about the pain he felt tied to the plot. According to Wright:
“I didn’t want my uncle to get hurt. I didn’t want law enforcement to get hurt. I lost someone who was very close to me because I was so deluded and self-centered that I couldn’t see beyond my own need for attention.”
A deluded gamer without any desire to hurt anyone is not the picture the rest of the evidence supported. Rovinski testified against Wright in exchange for a lighter sentence. He has not been sentenced but faces between 15 to 22 years in prison. He pled guilty to conspiracy charges.
Wright has also not been sentenced. He is facing up to life in prison for his part in the beheading plot. Even thought Geller is happy with the outcome, there has been some discussion about the unfair treatment she faced in the media. It seems many in mainstream media blame her for these threats.
Geller released the following statement on her blog:
“I am deeply grateful to all the jurors who were courageous enough to find the jihadi who plotted to behead me guilty on all counts. It would seem clear and elemental that they would, would it not? But we do not live in a rational world. The media and cultural elites blamed me for the plots to kill me – attacked me for not subjugating myself to the sharia. The jury saw past all that and found for freedom and individual liberty; they understood clearly what was at stake: our very way of life.”