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Arizona AG Brnovich seeks to use state courts to prosecute suspected terrorists

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. (AP Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s top prosecutor wants to take measures into his hands by using state courts to prosecute suspected terrorists.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and his office recently prosecuted the first state-level terrorism charge in against Maheen Khan.

Prosecuting terrorism at the state level is rare, but Brnovich said he expects that to change.

“It’s something that you really haven’t seen in other states, but I bet that you will start seeing because state officials are realizing that this is another tool in the toolbox,” he said.

Khan plead guilty in October 2016 after plotting a terrorist attack on a motor vehicle office in metro Phoenix. He was sentenced to eight years in an Arizona prison.

Brnovich said he wanted to file these charges in state court because he wanted to send a strong message that Arizona will not tolerate terrorism attacks in the state.

“It’s one of those things where law enforcement could have sat around and waited for something to happen, God forbid, like has happened in other places,” he said.

Brnovich said his office works closely with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force to “share intelligence, to share information and try to be as proactive as possible” when it comes to terrorist attacks.

“I would rather err on the side of prosecuting these cases before something bad happens,” he said. “So we’re arguing or talking about the number of years in prison, instead of arguing or talking about the number of lives that may have been lost.”

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