Accused terrorist denies part in Super Bowl plot

Posted at 3:10 PM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 20:58:06-05

Jurors at the trial of an Arizona man accused of helping plan an attack on a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas were shown evidence Thursday found in the aftermath of the gunfire, including two flags bearing the logo of the Islamic State terrorist group.

Other items recovered from the scene of the May 3 attack in Garland, Texas, included three assault rifles, three pistols, bulletproof vests, a large supply of ammunition and a book titled, "Fortress of the Muslim."

The Islamic State flags were about the size of a legal pad.

The evidence was presented at the trial of Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, a 44-year-old moving company owner accused of encouraging two Arizona men to carry out the attack and providing them with guns.

Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi were fatally shot by a Garland police officer after they abruptly stopped their car outside a conference center where the event was being held and opened fire. No one who attended the event was hurt. A security officer was shot in the leg.

Prosecutors say Kareem, Simpson and Soofi initially wanted to acquire explosives to blow up the metro Phoenix stadium hosting the 2015 Super Bowl and a nearby shopping center. When that plan failed to materialize, they allegedly set their sights on the cartoon contest in Garland.

Authorities say the trio also researched traveling to the Middle East to fight alongside the Islamic State.

Kareem denies the allegations and claims the government is using guilt through association to target him.

It's unclear whether some of the items were carried by Simpson and Soofi or left in the car they used.

Many pieces of evidence from the Garland attack are believed to have been in the car but were later strewn across the scene after authorities who were concerned about the possibility of explosives being in the car set off a pre-emptive explosion. In the end, Soofi and Simpson weren't believed to have had explosives with them.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety detective who works on an FBI terrorism task force also testified Thursday about an al-Qaida magazine that was found on Kareem's computer.

Detective Jeffrey Nash said Kareem acknowledged during an interview with investigators that he looked at the magazine.

"He said he didn't follow that kind of thing," Nash said. "He just looked at it to see what it was all about."

FBI agents testified Thursday afternoon about how they collected evidence in the investigation, including seizing a computer at Simpson's apartment the day after the attack.