Jihad Jane pleads not guilty to terrorism charges
Colleen LaRose, also known as Jihad Jane, pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges in Philadelphia Thursday. Reports say she has already confessed to the FBI her role in a murder plot.
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Colleen LaRose, known popularly by her Internet aliases "Jihad Jane" and "Fatima Rose," pleaded not guilty on Thursday to plotting with militant Muslims abroad to commit terrorist acts in Europe and Asia. Her plea is the latest in a string of high-profile 'homegrown terrorists' who are now taking the stand in court.
The Pennsylvania resident faces four criminal charges, including conspiracy to provide support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, lying to the FBI, and identity theft. (Read the unsealed indictment here.)
Her trial is set for May 3. If convicted, she could face a life sentence and a $1 million fine.
Ms. LaRose, however, is said to have confessed to the FBI soon after her October arrest about her role in the plot, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, citing two sources close the investigation. Her not guilty plea is routine and does not preclude a negotiated plea agreement, the Inquirer adds.
She appeared in the courtroom looking "nothing like the pictures of her that had been previously released," according to the Los Angeles Times. "Gone was the heavy eyeliner and shock of blond hair. Gone was the black burka. Instead, the tiny 46-year-old Pennsburg, Pa., woman entered the courtroom wearing a dark green prison uniform and her hair braided in cornrows."
But blond, blue-eyed 'Jihad Jane' has attracted continued media attention. Her Caucasian ethnicity makes her unlike other recent cases of 'homegrown terrorists' – such as David Coleman Headley, a Pakistani American who pleaded guilty Thursday to laying the groundwork for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, or five young Americans of Pakistani, Eritrean, Ethiopian, and Egyptian background who Wednesday pleaded not guilty in a Pakistani court to terrorism.