Deal may be near for Colorado woman accused of aiding Islamist insurgents

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 05, 2014 7:54 PM

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors and lawyers defending a Colorado woman accused of providing material support to Islamist militants fighting the governments of Syria and Iraq may be close to resolving the case, court records show.

Shannon Maureen Conley, born in 1986, has been in federal custody since she was arrested in April for allegedly preparing to join the Sunni Muslim insurgent group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIL or ISIS, which has shortened its name to "Islamic State." She has not been charged.

In a motion filed in U.S District Court in Denver last week, federal public defender Robert Pepin said he is in "continuing discussions" with prosecutors concerning a potential deal in the criminal case against the suburban Denver teen.

"Should these discussions result in a resolution of this case, as expected, there will be no need for defense motions at this time," Pepin wrote.

It was not clear from the filing what the talks entail, and a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver said he could not comment on the development.

Conley was arrested by federal agents at Denver International Airport as she was about to board a plane bound for Germany.

According to the criminal complaint filed in federal court, Conley corresponded online with a purported Islamist militant identified in court documents only as Y.M.

Federal agents met with Conley numerous times after learning of her actions, and she told them she intended to marry Y.M. because they shared a vision of Islam that requires them to wage jihad against infidels.

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Islamic State is an al Qaeda offshoot that wants to recreate a medieval-style caliphate from the Mediterranean to the Gulf and deems Shi'ite Muslims to be heretics deserving death.

Conley told investigators she received some military training at a U.S. Army Explorers camp in Texas and that she "intended to use that training to go overseas to wage Jihad," according to an affidavit filed by a federal agent in support of her arrest.

Pepin said both sides will notify U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore by the end of the week if a deal has been worked out.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Mohammad Zargham)