BOSTON (Reuters) - A Massachusetts man charged with conspiring in an Islamic State-inspired plot to behead a woman who had organized a 2015 competition featuring cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed is due in court on Wednesday.
David Daoud Wright has pleaded not guilty to charges including planning the attack on the organizers of the Garland, Texas, “Draw Mohammed” contest with his uncle, Usamaah Abdullah Rahim.
Their plot went off the rails when Rahim told Wright and a third man that he could no longer wait and that “I’m just going to, ah, go after them, those boys in blue.” That conversation was picked up by law enforcement, who had the group under 24-hour surveillance, and when officers tried to question Rahim in a Boston supermarket parking lot, he pulled a large knife and was shot dead by police.
The third member of the alleged plot, Nicholas Rovinski of Rhode Island, last year pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
Wright, who lived just outside Boston in Everett, is due to appear later on Wednesday for a status conference in Boston federal court ahead of his September trial.
The organizer of the “Draw Mohammed” contest and the group’s alleged target, Pamela Geller, said the event was intended to highlight free-speech rights, which are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Opponents described it as intentionally provocative, as many Muslims consider depictions of the Prophet Mohammed blasphemous.
Two gunmen working independently of the alleged Rahim-Wright-Rovinski conspiracy attacked the event and were shot dead by police.
Boston police said at the time the three were arrested that they appeared to have no firm plan for how to attack Geller.
Rahim’s family denied that he had shown any signs of radicalization.
Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Matthew Lewis