After the first trial of an ISIS conspirator in the United States, Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem was sentenced to 30 years in prison during a court hearing in Phoenix Wednesday.
Kareem helped two other men plot an attack on a Mohammed cartoon drawing contest in Garland, TX, in 2015.
Those two men, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, died in a shootout with police outside the contest location.
Kareem was convicted last year on five counts including conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, lying to the FBI, and firearms charges.
“What they intended to do, and what he [Kareem] knew what they wanted to do was not only to try to kill some number of people… but to do it in the name of a foreign terrorist organization, ISIS,” Judge Susan Bolton said.
“He certainly associated with people who are radicalized,” Kareem’s attorney, Daniel Maynard said, “but I think it is clear he is different from Simpson and Soofi.”
Kareem maintains his innocence. He told the judge at sentencing, “I had nothing to do with this crime”
His lawyer read a letter from the defendant, where Kareem called his prosecution a “misguided effort,” and “I feel as though I have been charged stereotypically.” Kareem added in the letter, “the Koran does not direct anyone to act out in violence.”
Texas security guard Bruce Joiner spoke at sentencing about being shot in the 2015 attack.
“While the injury to my body may be small to some, the emotional injury to my person is more noticeable,” Joiner said, choking back emotion.