A Phoenix man, Abdul Khabir Wahid, who was a witness in the investigation of the 2015 attack on the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Garland, Texas has been convicted of making false statements to FBI agents and tampering with a witness.
Wahid was found to be in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2), and tampering with a witness, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(3). Wahid’s trial was held before Judge Tuchi from February 26, 2019 to March 1, 2019, after Wahid waived a trial by jury.
According to the Department of Justice:
Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi drove from Arizona to Texas to conduct the attack on the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest, where they stopped their car near the contest location and began firing semiautomatic rifles at security personnel and law enforcement officers. One of their bullets struck and injured a security guard. Police officers shot and killed Simpson and Soofi during the firefight. Wahid did not travel to Texas and was not directly involved in the attack.
On May 1, 2015, just days before the attack, Simpson instructed Wahid to deliver a key and an envelope to a third person. During a May 6, 2015 interview with FBI agents, Wahid made false statements and concealed these facts, despite having delivered the key and envelope, as instructed by Simpson. Also, between May 4 and July 8, 2015, Wahid tried to persuade Soofi’s brother not to speak with the FBI, to lie about seeing Simpson and Soofi with guns, and to lie about observing ISIS propaganda videos in Simpson’s and Soofi’s apartment.
Judge Tuchi found the delay “caused agents to apply scarce investigative resources to hunt for ‘needles in haystacks,’” and that Wahid’s false statement misdirected investigative assets, caused delays, and “in turn resulted in the agent’s failure to recover some evidence which was disposed of in the interim.”
Wahid is scheduled for sentencing on August 26, 2019, before Judge Tuchi. Wahid’s convictions carry a statutory maximum sentence of 28 years in prison.