* Faces up to 15 years in prison when sentenced
* At issue "South Park" depiction of Prophet Mohammad in
* Extremists encouraged to attack the show's writers
By James Vicini
WASHINGTON, Feb 9 A Muslim convert from
New York pleaded guilty on Thursday for his role in threatening
the writers of the satirical "South Park" television show for
their depiction of the Prophet Mohammad and to other criminal
charges, the U.S. Justice Department said.
It said Jesse Curtis Morton, who is also known as Younus
Abdullah Muhammed, admitted his guilt at a federal court hearing
in Alexandria, Virginia. He ran a website that encouraged
Muslims to engage in violence against enemies of Islam.
Morton pleaded guilty to making threatening communications,
using the Internet to put others in fear and using his position
as leader of the Revolution Muslim organization's Internet sites
to conspire to commit murder.
Morton worked on website postings with Zachary Chesser, a
Virginia man who pleaded guilty in October 2010 to sending
threatening communications to the writers of the comedy show and
to other charges.
Morton, 33, was arrested in Rabat, Morocco, last year and
brought back to the United States. He faces up to 15 years in
prison when sentenced on May 18.
Morton admitted that he aided Chesser in taking repeated
steps in April 2010 to encourage violent extremists to attack
the South Park writers for the episode on the cable channel
Comedy Central that featured Mohammad in a bear suit.
Most Muslims consider any depiction of the founder of Islam
as offensive. Morton and Chesser posted where the writers
resided and encouraged online readers to "pay them a visit,"
according to court documents.
Morton worked with Chesser to draft a message for the
website about the South Park threats and they posted a final
version of the statement on various extremist online forums.
Morton also conspired with Chesser and others to solicit the
murder of an artist tied to the "Everyone Draw Mohammad Day"
movement in May 2010, including posting online a magazine that
included the artist in a hit list for violent extremists.
Four days after Chesser's arrest in July of 2010, Morton
fled to Morocco. He was arrested in that country on U.S. charges
in May last year and then sent back to the United States.
"Jesse Morton operated Revolution Muslim to radicalize those
who saw and heard his materials online and to incite them to
engage in violence against those they believed to be enemies of
Islam," U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said in a statement.
The case is USA v. Morton, No. 12-cr-35, in U.S. District
Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.