(Reuters) - The trial for a man accused of purchasing the assault-style rifles used by a married couple to massacre 14 people in San Bernardino, California last year has been postponed until March, a judge ruled Friday.
Enrique Martinez was a childhood friend of shooter Syed Rizwan Farook and allegedly planned an attack with him in 2012 that was never carried out. Citing the complexity of the case against Martinez, U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal in Riverside, California, moved Martinez' trial date from July 19 to March 21, 2017, court papers show.
Marquez was arrested in December for his role in allegedly purchasing the guns used by Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, in their Dec. 2 attack on a holiday party attended by Farook's co-workers.
Their assault, which came a few weeks after Islamic State gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in a series of coordinated attacks around Paris, has raised anxiety about violence throughout the United States and changed the tone of the race for the White House to include an emphasis on national security issues.
Farook and Malik died in a shootout with police the day of the attack. Marquez, then 24, was arrested two weeks later, and was indicted for conspiracy and giving false information when purchasing firearms. He was also charged with violating immigration laws by entering into a sham marriage with a relative of Farook.
In court, his public defenders have argued that Marquez was only 19 when he bought explosives and rifles later used by Malik and Farook and had not participated in their Islamic State-inspired attack at a party of San Bernardino county public health workers.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)