When reporters asked Ariana Grande for comment as she disembarked in South Florida they were given no immediate comment. But the young Boca Raton pop star later tweeted through social media the following: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.” [Sic] – She later posted prepared remarks on Twitter which can be read by clicking this link.
This first online comment was in response to the heinous terrorist attack that took place in Manchester, England earlier last week killing at least 22 people and injuring 59, at last count.
It is well known that Grande’s fan base is mostly made up of teenagers and children, thus making the attack even more appalling. The suicide bomber knew exactly who would be victimized by his actions.
Grande, a rising star singing sensation whose career began at age eight when she sang the National Anthem at a Florida Panthers hockey game has advanced to superstar status, filling venues to a frequently sold out status wherever and whenever she appears.
She discontinued her European tour after the attack but later said she would resume it in July, continuing by scheduling a concert to in Paris.
Acts of terror have become a primary concern for parents’ comparable to the nightmare of their children getting mixed up with illegal drugs.
Lone wolf attacks targeting shopping malls nightclubs, movie theaters and other places where crowds of people gather have become a major concern for law enforcement and are difficult to stop.
As exhibited in the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando, terrorism can touch us all when least expected. And although the chances are extremely low they certainly do exist.
The Pulse attack has been labeled a hate crime as well as an act of terror due to the patrons of the club being members of the gay community.
The shooter in that attack was Omar Mateen, a disciple of the teachings of Anwar al-Awlaki.
Here at home, last year, federal agents arrested three Palm Beach County residents on charges of conspiring and attempting to support ISIS.
The arrests were the result of an FBI sting operation that began almost two years earlier using a confidential informant to gain the trust of the targets of the investigation.
Last month, two of the three men pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
Dayne Antani Christian, a/k/a Shakur, of Lake Park, and Darren Arness Jackson, a/k/a Daoud, are both now facing up to twenty years in federal prison on the conspiracy charge. Christian is facing an additional ten year sentence after he additionally pleaded guilty to being in possession of a firearm after previously being convicted of a felony which was making false statements to the FBI regarding a gun charge in 2010.
Their sentencing hearing is tentatively scheduled for next month.
Christian’s mother, worked for the U.S. Marshal’s Service in the Virgin Islands.
Jackson is married and has three children. He also boasted that he wanted to go to Syria to fight for ISIS but instead of taking it that far became the weapons trainer for his other two co-conspirators. Remarks made in recordings taken by the C.I. had him bragging that he owned a sniper rifle that was accurate at a distance of up to a mile and the ammunition he was in possession of could pierce body armor.
His father is a Boca Raton attorney and represented his son at trial.
The third man, Gregory Hubbard, a/k/a Jibreel, who was homeless and the main target of the FBI sting, is due to face his fate in a federal courtroom this coming October.
Hubbard was arrested as he tried to board a plane bound for Berlin from where he planned to fly to Turkey, cross over to Syria and join ISIS. The FBI confidential informant thwarted his plans when he also purchased a ticket for Berlin and told him he was going with him to join the fight.
The confidential informant had been working for the bureau for close to a decade and the case hinged on his testimony and the recordings he organized.
Hubbard is currently incarcerated at the Federal Detention Center in Miami awaiting trial.
Hubbard was a well-known local sculptor who displayed his brightly colored works at SunFest in downtown Palm Beach as well as winning awards for some of them at art shows across the country. An article featuring his work was recently showcased in Palm Beach Florida Weekly magazine in 2012.
A friend of Hubbard’s who was interviewed by 7News in Miami was quoted as saying” He’s one of the most incredibly talented artists I’ve ever known”. She went on to say “I’ve never seen anything but kindness and congeniality from him,” and has been having a hard time believing the charges against him saying “I just hope that he is innocent until proven guilty”.
Based on family histories of the three men, at first glance it may seem difficult to believe that their radicalization came on so quickly but the 22 page Indictment lays out how the changes in their behavior evolved.
The criminal complaint can be found here.
According to Court documents, the three men, similarly to the radicalization of Omar Mateen were also inspired by the aggressive verses of American born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
If you or someone close to you is facing charges relating to terrorism or you are aware of an initiated investigation it’s crucial to retain a knowledgeable federal criminal defense attorney who specializes in these types of allegations at the earliest possible time.
Michael B. Cohen previously worked as an Assistant United States Attorney for the government handling federal cases for the prosecution.
He has been practicing law as a federal criminal defense attorney for close to forty years.
Visit his Website at southflalaw.com.