united states v. mehanna (terrorism conspiracy arrest in Massachusetts)

* United States v. Terek Mehanna (D. Mass. Oct. 21, 2009)

According to a criminal complaint and accompanying affidavit filed yesterday, Mehanna, Ahmad Abousamra, and others collaborated in an effort to go abroad to participate in jihad and to carry out attacks within the U.S. as well.  Mehanna already had been arrested, and charged earlier this year with making false statements to the FBI (in connection with questions regarding the activities of his associate Daniel Maldonado, an American who traveled to Somalia to obtain military-type training and who then became the first person prosecuted under 18 USC 2339D, which forbids the receipt of such training from a designated foreign terrorist organization).    The complaint charges a conspiracy to violate the 1994 material support law (18 USC 2339A), based on the provision of various forms of support and resources with the knowledge and intent that they would be used (presumably by Mahanna and Abousamra themselves) in furtherance of anticipated violations of 18 USC 956(a) (prohibiting conspiracies to commit unlawful violent acts outside the US) and 18 USC 2332 (prohibiting the murder of US nationals overseas).  In that respect, this looks like a good example of the use of the material support concept in coordination with conspiracy liability to enable prosecutorial intervention at a relatively early/preliminary stage, something we’ve seen many examples of in recent years.

The complaint and affidavit are available here.

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