NY man held without bail in alleged ISIS-inspired plot

Man does not enter a plea in court appearance

By Lauren del Valle, CNN
Drew Angerer/Getty Images via CNN

A 19-year-old man who authorities say texted undercover agents that he planned to conduct a terror attack in the name of ISIS in New York was ordered held without bail on Friday.

NEW YORK (CNN) - A 19-year-old man who authorities say texted undercover agents that he planned to conduct a terror attack in the name of ISIS in New York was ordered held without bail on Friday.

Awais Chudhary appeared in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn and was charged with one count of material support to a terrorist organization, specifically ISIS. He did not enter a plea during his court appearance.

Chudhary was born in Pakistan, and authorities allege he was inspired by ISIS and planned to conduct a stabbing or bombing attack in Queens. He was under constant surveillance by law enforcement and did not pose a danger to the public, a law enforcement source told CNN on Thursday.

He interacted with agents on a message board where he discussed plans to commit a stabbing in his Queens neighborhood, prosecutors said in court. He was arrested Thursday when he went to pick up a knife, which he ordered online, at an Amazon lockbox, prosecutors said.

Chudhary's attorney, Sam Jacobson, attempted to paint him as a child and asked the judge to consider the "level of fantasy." He also implied that the agents lured Chudhary into buying a knife.

Magistrate Judge James Orenstein denied a bail request, handing down a permanent order of detention. Chudhary just finished his freshman year of college, Jacobson told the judge.

Jacobson said that he believed Chudhary was "the most terrified person in the room." He also described the alleged suspect as "shy," "sweet" and "kind."

The judge asked Chudhary if he understood the charges against him, and Chudhary answered, "yeah, I read it," and "I know what I'm accused of."

His attorney recommended a roughly $100,000 bail package. Chudhary's parents and cousin, who were present, would sign as sureties. They declined to talk to the press after the hearing.

"Awais Chudhary had accepted the call from ISIS to kill fellow New Yorkers in the city he called home," NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill said. "He had carefully planned, conducted reconnaissance, picked a target, and was in the process of obtaining the weapon. All he (had) left to do was to strike."

O'Neill said the FBI agents and NYPD detectives of the Joint Terrorism Task Force should be commended.

"Their work almost certainly saved lives," he said.

CNN's Rob Frehse contributed to this report.

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