Man convicted of lying in terror denied early release – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Federal Judge Denies Compassionate Release of Phoenix Man Convicted of Making False Statements to FBI Agents and Falsifying Witnesses During Terrorist Attack Investigation Six Years Ago in the suburbs of Dallas.
U.S. District Judge John Tuchi cited the prisoner’s refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine when he dismissed an allegation in an order issued on Monday that the continued incarceration of Abdul Khabir Wahid makes him vulnerable to coronavirus .
Wahid argued that his HIV diagnosis and high blood pressure made him vulnerable to serious or fatal consequences if he contracted the virus in prison. He is serving a five-and-a-half-year sentence for convictions resulting from his conduct investigating a 2015 attack on a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas. Wahid was not directly involved in the attack, authorities said.
Tuchi concluded that Wahid did not present extraordinary and compelling reasons to justify a reduced sentence, noting a drop in COVID-19 cases at the Arizona prison where Wahid is incarcerated and his refusal to take the vaccine.
“Whatever the reasons for its refusal, the court will not allow the defendant to create an increased risk for himself – and will therefore attempt to ward off an ‘extraordinary and compelling’ circumstance – by refusing an easily available and extremely important preventive measure. Tuchi wrote.
The judge said granting Wahid’s request would reward him for prolonging the risk of infection for himself with a reduced sentence.
The 2015 attack was carried out by two of Wahid’s friends from Phoenix, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, who were killed by police after the two opened fire outside the anti-Islam event. Wahid also testified at the trial of Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, a Phoenix man convicted of conspiring to supply weapons to Simpson and Soofi.
Wahid was convicted of falsely presenting to federal agents what happened when Simpson and Soofi, who were supporters of the Islamic State, visited his home two days before the attack. He was also convicted of witness tampering for urging Soofi’s brother not to speak to FBI agents in the weeks following the attack.
Prosecutors said Wahid failed to alert authorities that Simpson was obsessed with jihad, or holy war, and invited Wahid to participate in an attack on a US military base.
In an earlier ruling, Tuchi said Wahid was aware of visits to Soofi and Simpson’s apartment in Phoenix that the couple watched Islamic State beheading videos, possessed assault weapons and that Simpson had expressed a desire to avenge his faith. Still, Tuchi said it hasn’t been proven that Wahid wanted Simpson and Soofi to be successful.
Wahid said if he warned law enforcement about Simpson, he feared Simpson would have known he alerted investigators. Wahid described himself as a typical American father and said he was not a terrorist.
He is expected to be released from prison in May 2024.