Arizona man convicted in 2015 Texas attack seeks new trial

PHOENIX — An Arizona man convicted of helping plot a 2015 attack on a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in suburban Dallas is seeking a new trial, arguing prosecutors did not reveal that an undercover FBI agent who witnessed the shooting had communicated about the contest with an accused recruiter for the Islamic State.

The agent’s presence at the anti-Islam event in Garland, Texas, was publicly revealed months after Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem was convicted in the May 2015 attack that ended when Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, friends of Kareem who were Islamic State followers, were killed in a shootout with police.

The disclosure about the agent’s presence led Kareem to make an unsuccessful bid for a new trial last year and raised questions about whether authorities could have done more to stop the attack.

In a court filing Monday, Kareem’s attorneys asked again for a new trial, saying a prosecutor at another trial last spring in Ohio said that Erick Jamal Hendricks, who was accused of recruiting for the Islamic State, was “unequivocally tied to this attack.”

Prosecutor Rebecca Magnone told the Ohio jurors that Hendricks had been in contact with Simpson, who was killed by Garland police on May 3, 2015, along with Soofi after they exited a car outside the convention centre wearing body armour and carrying rifles.

The information that emerged from the Ohio trial is crucial information that could lead to a different outcome for Kareem if he is granted a new trial, his defence attorneys said.

“This is not what this court heard previously from the government in Kareem’s case,” wrote Daniel Drake, one of Kareem’s attorneys.

After Kareem’s trial ended, federal authorities said there was no substantive connection between Hendricks and the cartoon contest, Drake said.

There was no mention at Kareem’s trial that an undercover agent had witnessed the shooting and exchanged social media messages with Simpson days before the attack. The agent’s involvement in the case was first mentioned in court records nearly eight months after Kareem’s trial ended.

Cosme Lopez, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, declined to comment on Kareem’s latest request. In an appellate court document filed earlier this year over Kareem’s conviction, prosecutors said Kareem couldn’t show the judge made in an error in rejecting the request for a new trial.

Kareem is serving a 30-year prison sentence for his convictions that included providing support to the Islamic State. Prosecutors have said Kareem trained Simpson and Soofi on how to use guns and watched jihadist videos with them.

On the day of the attack, the agent communicated with Hendricks via social media while the agent was outside the convention centre where the event was held. Hendricks asked the agent about the number of officers at the scene and whether snipers were present.

The agent had been sitting in a vehicle outside the Garland convention centre just as the cartoon contest ended. Moments before the shooting, he took photos of a police officer and another person standing in the distance near a tree and an image showing …read more

Source:: Nationalpost

(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *