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BOSTON (Reuters) - A Rhode Island man charged last year with planning to behead enemies of Islamic State and lend support to the militant group pleaded guilty on Thursday, agreeing to a sentence of up to 22 years in federal prison.
Nicholas Rovinski, 25, was arrested last year along with his friend David Wright, 26, of Massachusetts, and charged with plotting with Wright's uncle, Usaamah Abdullah Rahim, who was fatally shot by law enforcement agents in Boston last year when he threatened them with a knife.
Rovinski pleaded guilty on Thursday to two criminal counts of conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization, under a deal that could see him sentenced to 15 to 22 years in prison. If found guilty at trial, he could have faced a possible life sentence.
Prosecutors also contend that the men intended to target individuals such as Pamela Geller, organizer of a "Draw Mohammad" cartoon competition in Garland, Texas, that was attacked by two gunmen last year.
Wright has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Rahim and Wright had been planning an attack on police but that Rahim snapped in June 2015, telling his nephew: "I'm just going to, ah, go after them, those boys in blue."
Rahim's family denied he had shown any signs of radicalization.
Rovinski will be sentenced on March 23.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Peter Cooney)