US man accused in terror plot pleads not guilty

A 22-year-old Muslim convert accused by US authorities of being willing to commit acts of "violent jihad" pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he planned an attack at a shopping mall. "I feel well," Derrick Shareef said at his arraignment. He told US District Judge David Coar he had never been hospitalized for psychiatric treatment. Shareef was arrested December 6 after allegedly meeting an undercover agent to trade stereo speakers for a pistol and four grenades. He planned to "commit acts of violent jihad" by blowing up garbage cans at the mall during the Christmas shopping rush, according to a federal complaint. The complaint also said Shareef considered attacking city halls and courthouses. "Any place that's crowded, like a mall is good, anything, any government facility is good," he allegedly told a secret FBI informant when they talked about possible attack targets. The informant secretly tape-recorded his plans. "I swear by Allah man, I'm down for it too, I'm down for the cause, I'm down to live for the cause and die for the cause, man."