United States

Ex-Police Officer to Be Resentenced on Terrorism Charge

A former police officer convicted in a sting operation of trying to help the Islamic State group by purchasing $200 in gift cards for them is scheduled to be resentenced.

Nicholas Young of Fairfax, Virginia, was sentenced to 15 years in prison last year for obstruction of justice and attempting to provide material support a terrorist group.

But the federal appeals court in Richmond tossed out the obstruction convictions and ordered a resentencing to be held Friday.

Prosecutors say he should still get 15 years. Defense lawyers say he's now "66.6 percent less guilty'' because two of the three counts against him have been tossed out. They're asking for 5 years.

During his original trial, the jury was shown a photo of Young wearing a Nazi uniform, a photo of a woman carrying a "God bless Hitler" sign, and a dirtied Israeli flag that Young allegedly used as a doormat.

While Young wasn't on trial for hate crime charges, a counter-terrorism analyst testifying for prosecuters said there were "areas of convergence" between Islamist militancy and Nazism based on a mutual hatred of Jews.

Young's lawyers said during his trial that this expert was contradicted by a large Justice Department-funded study of domestic radicalization in the U.S. from 2016. The study found that there was not enough data to compare militant Islamism and far-right radicalization, but said that "important differences" exist between Islamist, far-right, far-left and other radical movements.

Young was raised Catholic in the suburbs of Washington, but later converted to Islam.

He was first contacted by the FBI in 2010, when he was interviewed by agents about an aquaintance who was convicted of attempting to join the al-Shabab terrorist group in Somalia, and of threatening the creators of the "South Park cartoon series for percieved insults to the Prophet Muhammad.

In 2016, he was arrested when the friend he belived to be an ISIS fighter and had been sending $245 in gift cards turned out to be an FBI informant.

Young was the first law enforcement officer charged with a federal terrorism offense. He patrolled the D.C. region's Metrorail system.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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