An FBI agent’s testimony yesterday offered a window into an elaborate investigation into a terrorist suspect involving undercover agents, a burner phone, and months of communications as the Tucson teenager reportedly mapped his Arizona attacks, reports the Arizona Republic. The case against Mahin Khan offers a window into how more terrorism-related cases may be heard in Arizona’s state courts, rather than in federal court, as the result of what Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich calls a more “forward-leaning” approach to detain would-be terrorists before they’re able to act.
Khan’s is believed to be the first terrorism-related case in Arizona tried in state, rather than federal, court. He is charged with inciting or inducing terrorism, financing or managing terrorism and with manufacturing, possessing or selling a prohibited weapon. Unlike federal laws, Arizona statutes do not require an “overt act” to prove terrorism conspiracy, Brnovich said. While federal prosecutors would have to provide evidence that a suspect, for example, purchased a weapon or explosive, Arizona law only requires evidence of intent, such as an agreement between the suspect and another person. “If you look at what’s happened … in San Bernardino and then in Orlando I think that everyone recognizes that no one can do this alone,” Brnovich said, speaking about terrorism cases in general. “Especially in light of the fact that we see these lone-wolf or small terror cells operating in other parts of the world — this is a problem where you’re going to need state, local and federal officials working together.”