nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Stewart (M.D. Tenn. Sep. 16, 2016) (arrest of individual who threatened lives of members of Congress)

September 16, 2016

DOJ’s press release:

WASHINGTONA Murfreesboro, Tennessee, man was taken into custody this morning by FBI agents and U.S. Capitol Police, after a criminal complaint was issued, charging him with threatening to murder a United States official and transmitting in interstate commerce, a communication containing a threat, announced U.S. Attorney David Rivera for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Agents arrested Keahiokahouna Stewart, 36, at his Murfreesboro home this morning without incident. Stewart is scheduled to make an initial appearance later today before a U.S. magistrate judge in Nashville, Tennessee.

According to the criminal complaint, beginning in August and continuing through Sept. 12, Stewart sent threatening emails and posted threatening videos to Instagram accounts, which he created. In an email dated on Aug. 19, Stewart specifically indicates that he will fly from Nashville to Honolulu, Hawaii, on Nov. 1, with the intent to shoot people at the Princess Jonah Federal Building. The specific targets of these threats were U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono, who represents the state of Hawaii and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who represents the 2nd District for the state of Hawaii.

The complaint outlines that beginning in November 2013, Stewart sent a series of “Grievances” to various U.S. officials and departments, including President Barak Obama, Senator Hirono and Congresswoman Gabbard, inquiring about Stewart’s social security number. Stewart falsely believed that his social security number had been duplicated and issued to a fellow soldier he met while stationed at Camp Stanley in Korea, in 2002. In subsequent correspondence to the Social Security Administration and Department of Defense, Stewart demands he be awarded 100 percent disability and $50 billion.

As set forth in the complaint, Stewart’s actions continued to be investigated by law enforcement including a May 2015 visit to Senator Hirono’s office in Washington, D.C., which resulted in the U.S. Capitol Police being called. In subsequent Facebook and Instagram posts, Stewart continued to post comments about the issue and display photos of himself with firearms. In an Instagram video posted by Stewart on Sept. 8, he states that he is flying to Honolulu on Nov. 1, and will be traveling with an AR-15 and two handguns. Stewart further states that he has already shipped a silencer for one of the handguns and that it is stored in a garage in Waianae, Hawaii.

Investigators recently determined that Stewart had purchased an airline ticket to travel from Nashville to Honolulu on Nov. 1, however it had been “exchanged,” which would allow the ticket holder to travel on any other date.

If convicted, Stewart faces up to 10 years in prison on the charge of threatening to murder a U.S. official and up to five years in prison on the charge of communicating threats through interstate commerce.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Capitol Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Van Vincent.

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nationalsecuritylaw United State v. Demirtas (D.D.C. Sep. 15, 2016) (guilty plea in IMU material support case)

September 16, 2016

From DOJ’s press release:

WASHINGTON – Irfan Demirtas, 57, a dual Dutch-Turkish citizen, pleaded guilty to providing material support to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

The plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips of the District of Columbia and Assistant Director in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

Demirtas pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and is to be sentenced on Nov. 30 by U.S. District Judge Randolph D. Moss of the District of Columbia. The charge carries a statutory maximum of 15 years in prison and potential financial penalties. The plea agreement calls for Demirtas to be removed from the United States upon completion of his prison term.

On Dec. 8, 2011, Demirtas was charged in a sealed four-count indictment for conduct occurring from at least January 2006 through May 2008, when Demirtas was a resident of the Netherlands and acted as an IMU fundraiser and facilitator in Europe. In January 2015, Demirtas was arrested in Germany based on an Interpol red notice that had been issued on these charges. He was detained and then extradited to the United States on July 17, 2015.

According to the government’s evidence, the IMU is a militant Islamic group which was formed in 1991 with the stated purpose to overthrow the government of Uzbekistan and to create an Islamic state under Sharia law. Since its inception, the IMU has been conducting military operations in Uzbekistan and Pakistan and participated in combat operations against coalition forces in Afghanistan. The IMU was designated by the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on Sept. 25, 2000.

Between January 2006 and May 2008, according to the government’s evidence, Demirtas acted on the IMU’s behalf in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Jordan, the Netherlands, France and elsewhere outside the United States. During this period, he provided, attempted to provide and conspired to provide personnel and funding to the IMU, knowing that it is a designated terrorist organization that has engaged and engages in terrorism. Specifically, Demirtas admitted in his plea to providing funds to the leader of the IMU.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael C. DiLorenzo and Ari M. Redbord of the District of Columbia and Trial Attorney Brian K. Morgan of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Assistance was provided by the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.

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