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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Massachusetts Man Convicted of Supporting ISIS and Conspiring to Murder U.S. Citizens

Defendant and others conspired to behead Americans and kill police

Boston – An Everett man was convicted today by a federal jury of conspiring with others to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).


David Daoud Wright, a/k/a Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, a/k/a Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, 28, of Everett, Mass., was convicted of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice.


“Mr. Wright intended to wage war against the United States on behalf of ISIS,” said Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb. “Despite the fact that he was born and raised in Massachusetts, Mr. Wright swore allegiance to ISIS, a foreign terrorist organization, and plotted attacks that he hoped would cause more harm than the Boston Marathon Bombings. Today’s conviction ensures that Mr. Wright will never again endanger the lives of innocent Americans or recruit others on behalf of a violent enemy of this country. I commend the efforts of the law enforcement officers who investigated and halted Mr. Wright’s plans and the prosecutors who brought the case to a successful conclusion.”


“Mr. Wright conspired to provide material support to ISIS and plotted to kill innocent civilians on U.S. soil and to wage violence against our government on behalf of the foreign terrorist organization,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Boente.  “Mr. Wright will now be held accountable for his crimes.  The National Security Division’s highest priority is counterterrorism, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to disrupt potential attacks in the United States and to hold accountable those who seek to provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations.  I want to thank the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this result.”


“Today's verdict is a victory for America in its fight against terror,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division.  “It reflects the true gravity of Mr. Wright's crimes, betraying his country, conspiring to support a terrorist organization dedicated to the murder of innocent people, and obstructing an investigation. Mr. Wright was a soldier of ISIS right here in Massachusetts and his plan to carry out terror attacks was a very real threat.  This case is a testament to the tireless efforts of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The close coordination between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, combined with trusted international partnerships, led to the disruption of this plot. Every day, the Joint Terrorism Task Force strives for a perfect record, and we'd like to thank all of our partners for their dedication and hard work in bringing this case to its successful conclusion.”

In April 2016, Wright and co-defendant Nicholas Alexander Rovinski were indicted on charges that they conspired with each other and Usaamah Abdullah Rahim, 26, Wright’s uncle,

to provide material support to ISIS and commit acts of terrorism.  Even after his arrest, while detained pending trial, Rovinski sought to continue their planned attacks and wrote letters to Wright from prison discussing ways to take down the U.S. government and decapitate non-believers.    


In September 2016, Rovinski pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to ISIS and conspiring to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries.


Beginning in at least February 2015, Wright began discussing ISIS’ call to kill non-believers in the United States with Rahim and Rovinski.  Wright created a “martyrdom” operation cell in Massachusetts.  In April 2015, he created a Twitter page for the “Lions of America” and published a document entitled, Internal Conquest, on the internet.  In this document, Wright called on the “Lions of Allah” to kill Americans.  Wright also plotted with Rahim and Rovinski to behead U.S. citizens at the direction of ISIS, and identified Pamela Geller as the first beheading target.  Rahim purchased three knives for this plot.  In addition, Wright knew Rahim was communicating with an overseas ISIS contact, Junaid Hussain.  Hussain, an ISIS member located in Syria, provided Rahim with an encrypted document regarding details about Ms. Geller.  In August 2015, Hussain was killed in an airstrike in Raqqah, Syria. 


In preparation for their attack, Wright conducted extensive research on weapons, knives, machetes, bombing making components, and methods to subdue their victims. Wright also conducted research on “how to start a secret militia in the United States.”   


On June 2, 2015, Rahim was shot and killed after he attacked law enforcement officers in a Roslindale, Mass., parking lot. Two hours before Rahim attacked the police, Wright had encouraged and motivated Rahim to pursue martyrdom by attacking the “boys in blue.”  Within minutes of learning of his Uncle’s death from a family member, Wright deleted data from his laptop computer by restoring it to factory settings and deleted call logs on his cellphone that showed that he had spoken to Rahim that morning.


The charge of conspiracy to provide material support provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.  The charge of obstruction of justice provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.  The charge of conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries provides for a sentence of life in prison, a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.


Acting U.S. Attorney Weinreb, Acting AAG Boente and FBI SAC Shaw made the announcement today. This investigation was conducted by the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF); the Boston Police Department; Massachusetts State Police; Everett Police Department; and Customs and Border Protection. The Suffolk District Attorney’s Office; Rhode Island State Police; Warwick, R.I. Police Department; and West Midlands Police, United Kingdom also provided valuable assistance.


The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney B. Stephanie Siegmann of the District of Massachusetts’s National Security Unit and Trial Attorney Gregory R. Gonzalez of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

National Security
Updated October 19, 2017