Men charged in Boston beheading plot plead not guilty in court

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Men Charged in Boston Beheading Plot to Appear in Court

Two New England men pleaded not guilty in federal court in Boston on Friday to charges they plotted to help the militant group Islamic State by beheading Massachusetts police officers.

Wearing orange prison fatigues, David Wright, 25, of Massachusetts, and Nicholas Rovinski, 24, of Rhode Island, entered not-guilty pleas at the arraignment in U.S. District Court in Boston.

They were ordered to remain detained until their next hearing on July 29th.

Wright was arrested in Boston on June 2, the same day that officers shot dead a third man, Usaamah Abdullah Rahim, while trying to question him about the beheading plot.

Authorities said Rahim, 26, threatened the officers with a knife. Rahim's family issued a statement on Friday saying they were "shocked" by officials' handling of the case and calling for an investigation into Rahim's death.

Prosecutors said Rahim, Wright and Rovinski in late May "conspired to commit attacks and kill persons inside the United States, which they believed would support ISIL's objectives," using an acronym for the militant group that controls parts of Iraq and Syria and has vowed attacks on America.

The offense carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. Wright also faces several obstruction of justice charges, one of which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The prosecutors said the men initially wanted to behead New York resident Pamela Geller, who had organized a Texas event in May highlighting cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, images that many Muslims consider blasphemous. Two gunmen had attacked that event, and were shot dead by police.

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Men charged in Boston beheading plot plead not guilty in court
In this courtroom sketch, David Wright, second from left, is depicted standing with his attorney Jessica Hedges, right, as Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley presides, left, during a hearing Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in federal court in Boston. Wright was ordered held Wednesday on a charge of conspiracy with intent to obstruct a federal investigation in the case of Usaama Rahim, who while under surveillance by terrorism investigators, was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent. (Jane Flavell Collins via AP)
In this courtroom sketch, Nicholas Rovinski, second from right, of Warwick, R.I., is depicted standing with his attorney William Fick, right, as Magistrate Judge Donald Cabell, left, presides during a hearing Friday, June 12, 2015, in federal court in Boston. Rovinski is accused of conspiring with Usaama Rahim of Boston, who was killed the previous week by terror investigators who had him under 24-hour surveillance. (Jane Flavell Collins via AP)
First Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Patrick Haggan points to surveillance video released during a press conference Monday, June 8, 2015, in Boston, which they say shows the fatal shooting of a Boston man suspected of plotting to kill police officers. The video comes from a restaurant across the street, and the figures shown are blurry. Police and the FBI say it shows officers shooting 26-year-old Usaama Rahim on June 2 in the city's Roslindale neighborhood after they attempted to question him about "terrorist-related information." (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Commissioner of the Boston Police Department William Evans speaks as First Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Patrick Haggan, far left, and Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley listen after releasing a surveillance video during a press conference Monday, June 8, 2015, in Boston, which they say shows the fatal shooting of a Boston man suspected of plotting to kill police officers. The video comes from a restaurant across the street, and the figures shown are blurry. Police and the FBI say it shows officers shooting 26-year-old Usaama Rahim on June 2 in the city's Roslindale neighborhood after they attempted to question him about "terrorist-related information." (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Imam Abdullah Faaruuq speaks during a news conference Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Boston's Roslindale neighborhood in the area where Usaama Rahim, 26, was shot to death. Faaruuq, a Muslim leader close to the Rahim family, said that his killing by Boston police and the FBI was reckless and unnecessary. Police said Usaama Rahim had lunged at members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force with a knife when they approached him. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Family members and supporters escort Rahimah Rahim, center, the mother of shooting victim Usaama Rahim, after a news conference on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Boston's Roslindale neighborhood in the area where her son was shot to death. Police said Usaama Rahim had lunged at members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force with a knife when they approached to question him. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Attorney Ron Sullivan speaks on behalf of family and friends of shooting victim Usaama Rahim during a news conference Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Boston's Roslindale neighborhood in the area where Rahim was shot to death. Police said Usaama Rahim had lunged at members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force with a knife when they approached to question him. Listening are Rahim's mother, Rahimah Rahim, to the right of Sullivan, and his brother, Ibrahim Rahim. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
U.S. Marshals patrol the waterfront side of the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse during the arraignment of David Wright Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Boston. Wright was ordered held Wednesday on a charge of conspiracy with intent to obstruct a federal investigation in the case of Usaama Rahim, who while under surveillance by terrorism investigators, was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Supporters of David Wright leave the Federal Courthouse building after Wright's arraignment Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Boston. Wright was ordered held Wednesday on a charge of conspiracy with intent to obstruct a federal investigation in the case of Usaama Rahim, who while under surveillance by terrorism investigators, was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Abdullah Faaruuq, Imam of the Mosque for the Praising of Allah, left, speaks to reporters during a news conference as Darnell Williams, president of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, behind center, Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, front right, and Rev. Arthur Gerald, Jr., president of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, right, look on during a news conference, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, at Boston Police Headquarters, in Boston. Boston police said they have video showing Usaama Rahim, a man who was under 24-hour surveillance by terrorism investigators, lunging with a knife at a police officer and an FBI agent before he was shot and killed. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Community members and police officials at Boston Police Department Headquarters prepare to see video, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Boston, of a fatal police shooting on Tuesday, in the city's Roslindale neighborhood. Police said the video shows that officers did not have their weapons drawn when they approached Usaama Rahim and that they backed up when he initially lunged at them with a knife. (David Ryan/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)
Community members and police officials at Boston Police Department Headquarters prepare to see a video, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Boston, of a fatal police shooting on Tuesday, in the city's Roslindale neighborhood. Police said the video shows that officers did not have their weapons drawn when they approached Usaama Rahim and that they backed up when he initially lunged at them with a knife. (David Ryan/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)
Community members and police officials pray at the Boston Police Department headquarters before seeing a video, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Boston, of a fatal police shooting on Tuesday, in the city's Roslindale neighborhood. Police said the video shows that officers did not have their weapons drawn when they approached Usaama Rahim and that they backed up when he initially lunged at them with a knife. (David Ryan/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)
Abdullah Faaruuq, Imam of the Mosque for the Praising of Allah, at microphones, raises his hand as he speaks to reporters during a news conference as Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, second from top right, looks on, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, at Boston Police Headquarters, in Boston. Boston police said they have video showing Usaama Rahim, a man who was under 24-hour surveillance by terrorism investigators, lunging with a knife at a police officer and an FBI agent before he was shot and killed. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Abdullah Faaruuq, Imam of the Mosque for the Praising of Allah, left, speaks to reporters during a news conference as Darnell Williams, president of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, behind center, Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, front right, and Rev. Arthur Gerald, Jr., president of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, right, look on during a news conference, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, at Boston Police Headquarters, in Boston. Boston police said they have video showing Usaama Rahim, a man who was under 24-hour surveillance by terrorism investigators, lunging with a knife at a police officer and an FBI agent before he was shot and killed. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
BOSTON - JUNE 3: Community members arrive at Boston Police Headquarters preparing to see video of Boston Police shooting in Roslindale. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
The apartment building where David Wright was taken into custody the previous day, is seen, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Everett, Mass. Wright will face federal charges Wednesday in Boston in connection to the investigation of Usaama Rahim, who had been under 24-hour surveillance by terrorism investigators, and who was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent. (AP Photo/Phil Marcelo)
FBI Special Agent in Charge of Boston Vincent B. Lisi, right to left, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans listen to a reporter's question during a joint news conference at the Boston Police Department's Headquarters Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in Boston. A man under surveillance by a joint terrorism task force was shot and killed outside a pharmacy Tuesday after he lunged with a knife at a city police officer when asked to drop his military style knife before the officer and an FBI agent opened fire. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Police vehicles sit in front of a multi-storied home Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in Everett, Mass., being searched by authorities in connection with a man shot and killed earlier in the day in Boston. The man, under surveillance by terrorism investigators, was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent, Boston police Commissioner William Evans said. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
The knife brandished by a man under surveillance by a joint terrorism task force who was shot and killed outside a pharmacy Tuesday is displayed during a news conference at the Boston Police Department Headquarters Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in Boston. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Police work inside a gated community Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston, where a residence was being searched by authorities in connection with a man shot and killed earlier in the day. The man, under surveillance by terrorism investigators, was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent, Boston police Commissioner William Evans said. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Boston Police Officer Shoots and Kills Terror Suspect. MORE: http://t.co/x8TSYQSQbb http://t.co/rl6TZ04q4Q
Terror suspect shot dead in Boston http://t.co/mrwsQxldPp http://t.co/JKxVcrqldk
Sources: Man killed in Boston was tracked over possible radicalization by ISIS propaganda: http://t.co/bganpVQhbH http://t.co/ss0gHlWI0X
A police officer stands near a multi-storied home Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in Everett, Mass., being searched by authorities in connection with a man shot and killed earlier in the day in Boston. The man, under surveillance by terrorism investigators, was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent, Boston police Commissioner William Evans said. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
A sign posts the speed limit in a gated community Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston, where a residence was being searched by authorities in connection with a man shot and killed earlier in the day. The man, under surveillance by terrorism investigators, was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent, Boston police Commissioner William Evans said. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley speaks as FBI Special Agent in Charge of Boston Vincent B. Lisi, left to right, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans, far right, look on during a joint news conference at the Boston Police Department's Headquarters Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in Boston. A man under surveillance by a joint terrorism task force was shot and killed outside a pharmacy Tuesday after he lunged with a knife at a city police officer when asked to drop his military style knife before the officer and an FBI agent opened fire. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Names are listed on a mailbox at the apartment building in Everett, Mass., Wednesday, June 3, 2015, where David Wright was taken into custody Tuesday. Wright will face federal charges Wednesday in Boston in connection to the investigation of Usaama Rahim, who had been under 24-hour surveillance by terrorism investigators, and who was killed after he lunged with a knife at a Boston police officer and an FBI agent. (AP Photo/Phil Marcelo)
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They said Rahim later called Wright, who is also known as Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, to say he had revised his plan and instead intended to attack "those boys in blue," by which he meant Massachusetts police officers. Rovinski, who was arrested last week, is also known as Amriki aka Nuh al Andalusi.

The case follows a handful of so-called "lone wolf" attacks in the United States and Canada since last year by people who authorities said were inspired by Islamic State.

Rahim's family said it "remains shocked by these allegations" and that it believed police were trying to illegally arrest Rahim when he was killed.

"The family maintains that, even if Usaamah Rahim was complicit in the crimes outlined in the indictment, the shooting that caused his death must be thoroughly and fairly investigated," it said.

(Additional reporting and editing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Lisa Lambert andMohammad Zargham)

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