The 22-page FBI complaint against Nicholas Teausant seems pretty cut and dry. He is accused of trying to leave the country to be a terrorist but so far, he committed no terrorist act.
Is there enough to convict him?
“He is charged with an attempt to provide material support to a terrorist organization. Leaving the country and getting on a plane or a train and trying to get to the middle east is a pretty substantial step if its true,” defense attorney Thomas A. Johnson said.
Johnson, who does not represent Teausant, says if everything in the FBI’s complaint is true, it’s going to be a hard case to defend.
“Terrorism is a terrible thing and so it’s not going to take much for the jury to find that he provided something material,” Johnson said.
Especially since Johnson says Teausant himself could be the material support. Allegedly offering his services to a terrorist organization is damning evidence. Johnson says the terrorist could use Teausant’s American image, knowledge and ability to blend in to crowds to do harm.
“It’s terrorism,” Johnson said. “He is in very deep water.”
The normal defense for this type of charge would be entrapment but Johnson says in this case it would be hard to prove that, even though most of the evidence gathered on Teausant was done by a paid informant and an undercover agent posing as terrorist.
“You have to show you weren’t at all predisposed to commit the offense. You have to show the government led you into it,” Johnson said.