Note: This post has been updated to correct a reference to the Marines targeted.
In what may be a new development in a June South Seattle terror plot, state prosecutors filed charges Tuesday against a longtime criminal in Washington state who attempted to run two Marines off the road, and who allegedly had contact with one of the terrorism suspects.
According to the charges, Michael D. McCright, who also goes by Mikhial Jihad, swerved at a government-owned sedan on July 12 after noticing the uniform of the Marine staff sergeant driving the car.
"His eyes widened and he appeared to become angry," the staff sergeant reported to the police.
McCright then quickly pulled in front of the sedan and jammed on his brakes in an effort to cause a collision. The second Marine in the car, a gunnery sergeant, managed to report McCright's license plate to the Washington State Patrol. Both Marines were uninjured in the incident.
The charges assert that McCright initially denied any involvement in the incident and avoided detectives until he was tracked down and arrested on Sept. 8 in Seattle.
Adding to the potential significance of the crime is evidence entered by prosecutors showing that McCright had been in contact with Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, who is one of the two defendants charged with plotting to attack the South Seattle military processing station in June.
"Investigators have confirmed that the cell phone used by the defendant … was used on at least three occasions to contact Abdul-Latif prior to Latif's arrest by federal authorities," King County prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff said in court papers. "The FBI is continuing to investigate defendant McCright's possible connection to domestic terrorism."
The charges only assert that McCright's cell phone was used to contact Abdul-Latif, but the nature of their relationship has yet to be determined.
Abdul-Latif was arrested along with Los Angeles resident, Walli Mujahidh, several weeks before McCright's attempted attack on the Marines for allegedly plotting a suicide operation against a military induction and processing center. The two suspects planned to use automatic weapons and grenades to target recruits and Department of Defense employees working there. Both men are now in Federal custody and face life in prison if convicted.
McCright, charged with second-degree assault, also faces life in prison if convicted as a repeat "three strike" violent offender. He is expected to be arraigned on Sept. 27.