The body of one of the suspects lies outside the black SUV in which they tried to escape. Reuters photo
The body of one of the suspects lies outside the black SUV in which they tried to escape. Reuters photo

The older brother of the San Bernardino terrorist and two other relatives are slated to be tried at the federal courthouse in Riverside in November on charges stemming from an investigation immediately following the massacre.

Syed Raheel Farook, 31, and his wife, Tatiana Farook, 31, both of Corona, along with her sister, Mariya Chernykh, 26, of Ontario, were arrested during two raids carried out by FBI agents and U.S. marshals in April.

The trio were indicted on multiple felony charges. They’re all free on bonds ranging from $25,000 to $50,000.

The defendants’ case had been transferred to U.S. District Court in Los Angeles for adjudication but has since been re-assigned to the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal in Riverside.

Bernal recently scheduled a pretrial conference for Oct. 31 and a tentative trial date of Nov. 8.

Syed Farook’s brother, 28-year-old Sayeed Rizwan Farook, masterminded the Dec. 2 Islamist terrorist attack on the Inland Regional Center, joining his wife, 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik, in killing 14 people. Nearly two dozen others were wounded but survived.

The two jihadis were killed a few hours later during a gun battle with police.

During Syed Farook’s initial court appearance on April 28, defense attorney Ron Cordova said his client’s case was “about misrepresentation in an act of marriage … not an act of terror.”

Farook is charged with conspiracy to commit fraud. His wife is also charged with conspiracy, while her sister was indicted on charges of misuse of work visas and permits, conspiracy, perjury and making materially false statements to the government.

The indictment alleges that the threesome carried out a marriage fraud conspiracy to obtain immigration benefits for Chernykh, a Russian citizen who allegedly entered into a sham marriage with Enrique Marquez Jr., a friend of Syed Rizwan Farook.

Marquez was indicted in January for allegedly supplying Sayeed Farook and Malik with the rifles to perpetrate the IRC killing spree.

According to authorities, the Farooks engaged in the alleged conspiracy by standing as witnesses at Marquez and Chernykh’s wedding, taking staged family pictures of the couple, creating a joint checking account for Marquez and Chernykh, as well as a back-dated lease that implied they shared a marital residence with the Farooks.

Marquez and Chernykh allegedly signed immigration documents, under penalty of perjury, falsely stating that they both lived at the same address. The indictment alleges that Marquez received money from Chernykh as part of the arrangement.

Marquez is slated to be tried in June on charges of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, as well as marriage fraud and misuse of travel visas and other certified documents.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.