First U.S. Trials of Suspected IS Sympathizers to Begin

NEW YORK (AP) -
In this March 18, 2015 file courtroom sketch, Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, right, a U.S. Air Force veteran and former airplane mechanic charged with attempting to join the Islamic State group in Syria, is arraigned before Judge Nicholas Garaufis, left, in a federal courthouse in Brooklyn. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams, File)
In this March 18, 2015 file courtroom sketch, Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, right, a U.S. Air Force veteran and former airplane mechanic charged with attempting to join the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria, is arraigned before Judge Nicholas Garaufis in federal court in Brooklyn. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams, File)

A U.S. Air Force veteran charged with trying to join Islamic State will be among the first Americans to go on trial as a result of the U.S. government’s pursuit of dozens of suspected sympathizers of the terrorist group.

Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh was stopped at a Turkish airport in January 2015. The 48-year-old told investigators he was just on a vacation, but an indictment alleged that he was carrying 180 jihadist propaganda videos, including one featuring the beheading of an Islamic State prisoner.

Jury selection in Pugh’s trial at a federal court in New York City is scheduled to begin in earnest this week.

The Justice Department says it has pressed criminal charges against more than 70 Islamic State sympathizers.