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American Who Wanted to Join ISIS Pleads Not Guilty to Gun Charge

How a North Carolina Native Ended Up on a Quest to Join ISIS 4:57

An American citizen who spoke exclusively to NBC News about his aspirations of joining Islamic militant group ISIS has pleaded not guilty to a weapons charge. Don Morgan, 44, is a North Carolina native, but spent January through July of this year in Lebanon, reaching out to members of the terrorist group via social media. On Aug. 2, days after he was interviewed by NBC News, Morgan came back to the United States through New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, where authorities arrested him on a charge of illegal weapons possession. He pleaded not guilty to the charge Thursday in Greensboro, North Carolina, and will be back in court in October, NBC affiliate WXII reported.

Morgan has a felony conviction for firing a gun in a restaurant, which he spent two years in prison for, and which makes it illegal for him to possess a gun. His latest arrest stems from accusations that he tried to sell a rifle online. While the charge is not related to his interest in ISIS, Morgan told NBC News he believed U.S. authorities were already tracking him before he flew to New York. “I think [if I go back to the U.S.] there’s a strong possibility that they’ll charge me with supporting terrorist organizations and with supporting terrorist activities,” Morgan had said.

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—Elizabeth Chuck