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16th of January 2018

Rhode Island



RI man to be sentenced after pleading guilty to terrorist plot

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Warwick man is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday after he pleaded guilty in Sept. 2016 to conspiracy charges involving a terror plot to behead a conservative blogger.

Nicholas Rovinski, 27, is facing between 15 and 22 years in prison after he was involved in an attempt to behead conservative blogger Pamela Geller. The plot was never carried out.

On Tuesday, David Wright, 28, of Massachusetts, who was convicted of leading the Islamic State group-inspired plot to behead Geller, was sentenced to 28 years in prison. Jurors found Wright guilty in October of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism and other crimes.

Prosecutors attempted to portray Wright as the ringleader of the conspiracy, arguing he recruited his uncle, Ussamah Rahim, of Boston, and Rovinski to help him commit attacks.

In May of 2015, Wright met with Rahim and Rovinski for more than two hours on a secluded Warwick beach and discussed plans to kill Geller, according to the indictment.

According to court documents, both sides are asking for a 15-year sentence after agreeing to cooperate.

Rovinski’s mother wrote a letter to the judge asking for leniency, saying that Wright knew Rovinski was “vulnerable and naive, and that he was a lost young man trying to fit in and find friends.”

In the letter, she said Rovinski was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was between 1 and 2 years old.

“May you have mercy on my son Nicholas and find it in your heart for a lesser sentence, or one that is more appropriate,” Rovinski’s mother wrote.

According to court documents, the defense is claiming because Rovinski was treated poorly by other children, he became a proponent of radical ideology:

“Mr. Rovinski was treated badly by other children in school in connection with his condition and thus entered his adolescent years in social isolation and without direction. While Mr. Rovinski came from what one might describe as an ordinary American “working class” background and grew up in a nominally Christian household, he became interested in Islam in the months prior to commencement of the offense and quickly fell under the influence of Wright after the two met online, and later, in person. He became a proponent, at least in his own mind, of violent and radical ideology.”

Rovinski’s mother wrote that after turning to the Muslim religion for comfort, he began to talk to men online.

“I think Nicholas was just trying to fit in and thought these men were truly his friends because Nick had a hard time figuring out who his friends truly were,” she said.

Rovinski’s brother wrote in a letter to the judge also asking for leniency.

“Being the honest and kind person he is, certain radical forces seemed to find a way to poison his naive mind,” Rovinski’s brother wrote.

Rovinski is scheduled to be sentenced at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Federal Court in Boston.

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