RI man pleads guilty to conspiring to help ISIS

Court sketch of Nicholas Rovinski by Jane Collins
Court sketch of Nicholas Rovinski by Jane Collins

BOSTON (WPRI) — A Warwick man charged with conspiring with two others to help ISIS and commit terror in the United States has pleaded guilty.

Nicholas Rovinski, 25, appeared in a Boston federal court Thursday afternoon to admit to two charges including conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism and conspiracy to help foreign terrorist group ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State group.

“I feel in the interest of myself and the people of the United States, I should pay for the crimes that I have committed,” Rovinski said in court, after judge Bill Young asked him why he was pleading guilty to the charges.

Rovinski faces a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 22 years in prison under his plea deal, with supervised release for the rest of his life.

Rovinski was arrested last year after prosecutors say he and two Massachusetts men, David Wright and Usaamah Rahim, plotted to behead New York blogger Pamela Geller, who drew ire from some Muslims after she organized an art exhibit competition featuring the prophet Muhammad.

Rahim, who was killed by police in June 2015, was in contact with ISIS operatives overseas, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Siegmann, and planned the attack with Wright and Rovinski. The plot was stopped before it was carried out.

Wright and Rovinski also downloaded ISIS magazines that promoted beheadings and an e-book instructional manual about how to travel to Syria to meet with ISIS, according to Siegmann. The two met at a Warwick beach to discuss their plan.

After Rovinski pleaded guilty, his attorney William Fick told reporters he had renounced ISIS.

“It’s important to note he never actually hurt anybody, never came close to carrying out the outlandish plans that were discussed,” Fick said.

Prosecutors say that Rovinski — even from jail — tried to recruit people to help carry out plans for violent attacks in the United States, including the beheading of nonbelievers.

“He has unequivocally renounced violence, renounced terrorism, and he’s come a long, long way since he was first arrested last summer….he’s really returned to being the person he was before all this started,” Fick said, declining to answer any questions from reporters.

U.S. attorney Siegmann declined to comment on the plea because of the upcoming trial of alleged co-conspirator David Wright, whose trial is slated to begin Feb. 6.

Rovinski is scheduled to be sentenced on March 23.

 

Rovinski's Twitter photo, where he goes under the alias

 

 

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