SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Two men pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges alleging they planned terrorist attacks against military facilities, the Israeli Consulate and other targets in the Los Angeles area.
Levar Haley Washington, 25, and Gregory Vernon Patterson, 21, were ordered held without bail after their pleas in U.S. District Court.
“In the name of Allah, I plead not guilty,” Washington said before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Nakazato.
Prosecutors contend the plot was orchestrated by Washington, Patterson and Hammad Riaz Samana, 21, at the behest of Kevin James, an inmate of the California State Prison, Sacramento. James, 29, founded the radical group Jamiyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh, or JIS.
During Monday’s hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Smith called Washington and Patterson dangers to society and flight risks, saying they had planned to carry out a “homegrown jihad” against the United States.
All four men face counts of conspiracy to wage war against the U.S. government through terrorism, kill armed service members and murder foreign officials, among other charges, according to an indictment.
All but Samana are American born and Muslim converts. Counterterrorism officials have said they found no evidence directly connecting the group to al-Qaida or other foreign terror networks.