Ex-Cop Who Dressed as Nazi Guilty of Supporting ISIS

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Ex-cop Nicholas Young was found guilty of helping ISIS on Monday. Getty Images

A Washington, D.C. area police officer who has been labeled both a terrorist sympathizer and white supremacist was convicted Monday of helping the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and obstructing justice.

A former officer for the D.C. Metro Transit Police Department, 38-year-old Nicholas Young was the first law enforcement officer ever to face terrorism charges after being caught last year providing gift cards to a man who prosecutors say he thought had joined ISIS in Syria but turned out to be an undercover informant in a FBI sting operation.

Along with attempted material support for terrorism, the jury at the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia found Young guilty of obstruction of justice. Young attempted to deceive FBI investigators about what he thought was the informant's destination in the Middle East and tried to cover for him by sending a text message to the man's cell phone to make it appear he was on vacation in Turkey, rather than fighting for ISIS as Young believed, according to the Department of Justice.

Identified only as Mohamed, Young claimed he thought the FBI's informant was traveling to Syria to fight President Bashar al-Assad's brutal regime and sent $245 in Google Play gift card codes at his request. The cards were to be used by ISIS fighters to download encrypted messaging applications to send texts to new recruits.

Young is a Muslim convert who used to dress up as a Nazi officer in reenactments and had the logo of an SS unit tattooed on his arm, according to court filings. He also kept a prayer list that included Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler and used his vacation time to join rebel groups fighting Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.

Prosecutors portrayed Young as an anti-Semite.

"It's a unique case; it's a unique defendant," Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg said in court last month, according to The Washington Post. "The defendant was an adherent of both . . . The common enemy is hatred of the Jews."

But Young's lawyers argued that their client was simply a strange, harmless man with a twisted sense of humor and unusual interests who was entrapped by the FBI.

The FBI started investigating Young in 2010 after probing an acquaintance he knew through college and a local mosque named Zachary Chesser, who was eventually convicted of trying to join an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group and threatening the creators of the television show South Park.

The federal law enforcement agency assigned two undercover informants to Young, eventually pulling one of the officers off the job and telling him to focus his efforts on another target. He met the second informant, Mohamed, in 2014. Young claimed the man told him he was going overseas to fight against Assad because of human rights violations.

"They very cleverly created this character of a sympathetic figure," Young said. "When he was talking about going overseas, the reason was to fight [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad. . . . It was totally humanitarian. . . . 'He's killing women and children, he's killing civilians, people are being buried alive.' And at no time did he show himself to be particularly religious," Young told The Washington Post in an interview this summer.

But prosecutors argued Young knew the informant said he was planning to fight for ISIS.

Young will be sentenced in February 2018. He is facing up to 60 years in prison.

Ex-Cop Who Dressed as Nazi Guilty of Supporting ISIS | U.S.
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