Man sentenced to 28 years in plot to kill Islamophobic blogger Pamela Geller
A Massachusetts man inspired by the Islamic State (IS) group was sentenced to 28 years in prison on Tuesday for plotting to behead a far right blogger.
US District Judge William Young told David Wright, 28, that he had "embraced a monstrous evil" when he plotted with his uncle and a friend to travel to New York to attempt to behead the anti-Muslim blogger, Pamela Geller, in an act of retribution for an offensive "Draw Mohammed" contest that she organised.
Wright wept, and begged for forgiveness, during the sentencing.
The group never made the trip, as Wright's uncle, Usaamah Rahim, lost patience and told his co-conspirators that he wanted to kill law enforcement officers in Massachusetts.
Rahim had been under surveillance by the FBI.
Agents overheard that conversation, and when police approached Rahim in a supermarket parking lot to question him, authorities say he lunged at them with a knife and was fatally shot.
British-born IS militant and propagandist, Junaid Hussain, whom the Pentagon said recruited IS sympathisers to carry out lone wolf attacks in the West, provided Rahim with encrypted details about Geller, prosecutors said.
Hussain was targeted and killed in an air strike in Raqqa, Syria, in August 2015.
"You are not a monster, yet you embraced a monstrous evil," Young told Wright after sentencing him to less than the life in prison prosecutors had sought. "You've got to live with the fact that you sent your uncle out there to be killed."
Wright, who was not present when his uncle was shot, was found guilty in October of plotting the New York attack as well as destroying evidence.
Geller had agreed with prosecutors in seeking a life term.
"This will never end for me, so it should never end for Daoud Wright. If he gets out, my family members and me will be in new danger," Geller said, using an alternate name for Wright.
Wright testified during his trial that he had been living in a "fantasy world" when the group discussed plans including somehow hijacking a US warship. He said he was stunned when Rahim attacked police.
"I reject everything that ISIS stands for and represents," Wright said, using a different acronym for IS.
"I want to apologise to law enforcement to the extent that my words or failure to act put them in danger."
His defence lawyers had asked for a sentence of 16 years.
Geller's May 2015 contest in Texas featured cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, images many Muslims consider blasphemous. Two gunmen had attacked that event, and police shot them dead.