Man accused of helping plan Texas Muhammad cartoon contest attack wants evidence tossed

Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem (file)
Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem (file)

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona man charged with helping to plan an attack on a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas that ended with two Phoenix men being killed in a police shootout has asked a judge to throw out evidence from his interview with investigators two days after the attack.

A lawyer for Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem said the May 5 interview at an FBI office wasn't recorded because of a technical issue and has raised questions about whether his client voluntarily spoke with investigators and was advised about his right to remain silent.

Authorities say the 43-year-old Abdul Kareem provided the guns that Nadir Soofi and Elton Simpson used in the May 3 shooting in Garland, Texas, and hosted the two gunmen in his home beginning in January. Abdul Kareem has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, making false statements to investigators and other charges.

Abdul Kareem's attorney, Daniel Maynard, said in court papers last week that the interview provided the basis for the false statements charge. The false statements that Abdul Kareem is accused of making include saying that he didn't have advance knowledge of the attack.

"While the government recorded every other important interview in this case, the government did not record this interview and is only able to provide a subjective summary of the interview," Maynard wrote.

Maynard said federal investigators tried to record the interview, but they were stymied by a technical issue that wasn't revealed in court records. He said an interview summary written by investigators provides no objective evidence or verbatim quotes from his client.

Cosme Lopez, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix, which is prosecuting Abdul Kareem, declined to comment Tuesday on Abdul Kareem's request.

Soofi and Simpson were roommates in Phoenix and drove to Texas to attack the event featuring cartoons deemed offensive to Muslims. They were killed by police after they drove up and opened fire outside the contest at a conference center, injuring a security guard. No one attending the event was hurt.

Authorities say Abdul Kareem practiced shooting with Simpson, Soofi and others in the remote desert outside Phoenix between January and May. They also say Abdul Kareem hosted the gunmen and others in his home to discuss the contest and the shooters' plans to travel to Texas to attack the event.

Authorities also say Abdul Kareem also had aspirations to join the Islamic State terrorist organization and attack the 2015 Super Bowl in suburban Phoenix.


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