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Judge sets 2017 trial date for two men charged in terror plot

A federal judge has set a trial in February 2017 for the two men charged in June with plotting to support the Islamic State terrorist group by killing people in the United States.

David Wright, 25, of Everett, and Nicholas Rovinski, 24, of Warwick, R.I., are being held without bail pending their trial in Boston after they were called a danger to the public. US District Judge William G. Young said he was reluctant to set a trial 18 months away for two men who are already imprisoned without being convicted of a crime.

But Rovinski’s lawyer, William Fick — who appeared to be speaking on behalf of both defendants — said that defense attorneys reluctantly proposed the February 2017 trial date so they can prepare for a case that has thousands of pages of documents and computer records, all of which allegedly show the defendants’ plot to carry out an attack.

“The case is mainly about what is going on in our clients’ heads,” said Fick, calling the February 2017 trial date the most realistic.

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Assistant US Attorney Stephanie Siegmann told Young that the government prosecutors have agreed to the February 2017 trial, but were prepared to go to trial sooner if needed.

Wright and Rovinski are charged with conspiracy to support a terror group, and, if convicted, face up to 15 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release.

Wright was also charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, and obstruction of justice, and faces up to 20 years in prison on the separate charges if convicted.

Prosecutors say that Wright, Rovinski, and Wright’s uncle, Usaamah Rahim, 26, of Roslindale, were plotting attacks to show their support of the Islamic State terror group, which has committed beheadings and other atrocities in Iraq and Syria, and has repeatedly called for similar attacks in the West.

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Authorities said Rovinski knew Wright and Rahim and met with them May 31 on a secluded Rhode Island beach, where they allegedly discussed the initial plan to behead anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller.

The men also agreed to conceal their plot from anyone who had not pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.


Milton J. Valencia can be reached at mvalencia@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.