A Rhode Island man charged with conspiring to help the Islamic State group has decided to plead guilty to charges he plotted with others to kill conservative blogger Pamela Geller.
Nicholas Rovinski is charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization and conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries.
Prosecutors say the Warwick man plotted with two Massachusetts men to behead Geller. She angered Muslims when she organized a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in 2015. The plot wasn’t carried out.
A document filed in court Tuesday says a change-of-plea hearing for Rovinski is scheduled for Thursday.
Rovinski’s lawyer said Rovinski was a vulnerable man who “fell deep into a rabbit hole of extremist ideology” but now renounces any sympathy for the IS group.
From our previous post on Rovinski:
In his arrest affidavit, Rovinski is not named but described as attending a meeting on May 31 with Rahim and Wright on a beach in Rhode Island, where the three discussed “their plans,” including the idea of beheading Geller.
In March, Rovinski had shared with CNN his Islamist extremist beliefs and motivation to act on them.
A producer exchanged messages with Rovinski, and during the conversation, the Rhode Island resident described exchanges with an alleged ISIS fighter who urged him to come to Iraq and Syria and join the terrorist group.
The communications were part of research into Americans identifying with jihadists online. Rovinski told CNN he considered following the fighter’s call.
On his Twitter account, the Rhode Island resident spoke out against the United States: “Living amung (sic) the enemy.”
“Who wishes to see flag of tawheed upon white house,” he wrote on March 28. Tawheed, a fundamental principle and saying of Islam, is also a favorite inscription on jihadi flags — namely ISIS and al Qaeda.
In an online conversation, he said, “I am not violent at heart but push the wrong button and its (sic) not pretty.”
On his Twitter account were messages directed at people connected with ISIS, including Mujahid Miski, the online alias of Mohamed Abdullahi Hasan, a former Minnesotan believed to be fighting with Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
Miski also had been in direct contact with Alan Simpson, one of the two shooters in the Texas attack on Geller’s “Draw Your Own Mohammed” event in May.
Rovinski told CNN in the online exchanges that he would attend services at a mosque near his home but said he never shared his fundamentalist interpretation of Islam with his imam. Prior to his conversion to Islam, he said he was agnostic, but sought “truth and guidance” and found Islam.
Then he decided to behead a non-Muslim.