Two Queens women accused of continually expressing support for violent jihad and the Islamic State terrorist organization pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court.
Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31, entered the pleas through their attorneys in Brooklyn.
Siddiqui's attorney, Thomas Dunn, said his client is not guilty. Velentzas' attorney was not available to comment.
Velentzas, of Greek ancestry, was born in Miami in 1987 and Siddiqui was born in Saudi Arabia in 1984, according to court papers. Both women are U.S. citizens.
In a criminal complaint, Velentzas and Siddiqui were accused of continually expressing support for violent jihad. Both women declared that they were "citizens of the Islamic State," the name of the terror organization also known as ISIS, prosecutors said in court papers. It was their alleged expression of support for the group, an organization that has called for lone-wolf terror attacks against the West, that prosecutors said was evidence of the danger posed by Velentzas and Siddiqui.
Velentzas is a home health aide. Siddiqui, who appears to be unemployed, had traveled several times to and from Canada, where her mother and other family members reside, law enforcement sources said.
Prosecutors say Velentzas and Siddiqui researched how to construct bombs as part of a conspiracy to make weapons of mass destruction to use against Americans.
The women had in their possession propane tanks and instructions for turning them into bombs, investigators said. But based on the criminal complaint and statements by law enforcement officials, it appeared the conspiracy did not endanger the public.
With Anthony M. DeStefano