Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh

Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh is a U.S. Air Force veteran and a would-be foreign fighter for ISIS who allegedly sought to fix the group's aircraft, and ultimately become a martyr.Jason Hanna and Joshua Gaynor, “Air Force veteran pleads not guilty to terror-related charges,” CNN, March 18, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/17/us/former-airman-isis-charges/; John Marzulli, “ISIS wannabe Tairod Pugh, an Air Force veteran, convicted for his attempt to join terror group, fix their aircraft,” New York Daily News, March 9, 2016, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/isis-wannabe-tairod-pugh-convicted-brooklyn-court-article-1.2558708. Pugh is a U.S. citizen and convert to Islam who has lived in New Jersey and Texas, holding several air force and airline-related jobs.“Criminal Complaint,” United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, January 16, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/03/17/nyregion/criminal-complaint-against-mr-pugh.html. The year and a half prior to his arrest, he lived abroad in Egypt, Dubai, and Jordan.“Criminal Complaint,” United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, January 16, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/03/17/nyregion/criminal-complaint-against-mr-pugh.html.

In January 2015, Pugh traveled from Egypt to Turkey, allegedly attempting to cross the border into Syria to join ISIS.“Criminal Complaint,” United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, January 16, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/03/17/nyregion/criminal-complaint-against-mr-pugh.html. Turkish authorities stopped Pugh and forced him to return to Egypt when he refused to allow them to search his laptop.“Criminal Complaint,” United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, January 16, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/03/17/nyregion/criminal-complaint-against-mr-pugh.html. After returning to Egypt, Pugh was transferred to U.S. custody. He was arrested by the FBI in New Jersey soon after his arrival.“Criminal Complaint,” United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, January 16, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/03/17/nyregion/criminal-complaint-against-mr-pugh.html.

On March 18, 2015, Pugh was charged with one count of attempting to supply material support to a terrorist organization and one count of obstruction of justice.Jason Hanna and Joshua Gaynor, “Air Force veteran pleads not guilty to terror-related charges,” CNN, March 18, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/17/us/former-airman-isis-charges/. On March 18, 2015, he pled not guilty.Stephanie Clifford, “Air Force Veteran Pleads Not Guilty in ISIS Case,” New York Times, March 18, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/19/nyregion/air-force-veteran-accused-in-isis-aid-case-pleads-not-guilty.html?_r=0. His trial—one of the first in the nation involving an American charged with attempting to join ISIS—began on February 29, 2016, at a federal court in Brooklyn, NY.Associated Press, “Defense: Islamic State group case vs. US veteran a fantasy,” Yahoo News, February 29, 2016, http://news.yahoo.com/defense-islamic-state-group-case-vs-us-veteran-180318373.html. He was found guilty in March 2016, making Pugh the first American to be convicted in a jury trial of providing material support to ISIS.Joseph Goldstein, “Tairod Pugh, Ex-U.S. Serviceman, Is Found Guilty of Trying to Aid ISIS,” New York Times, March 9, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/10/nyregion/tairod-pugh-ex-us-serviceman-is-found-guilty-of-trying-to-aid-isis.html?_r=0.

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