STEVE LeBLANC : “Brother Pleads Not Guilty in Boston Jewish Institution Fires”

Brother of Suspect in Boston Arson Case Pleads Not Guilty to Obstruction Charges

The brother of a man suspected in a series of arsons targeting Jewish institutions in the Boston area in 2019 has pleaded not guilty to charges of obstructing the investigation. Alexander Giannakakis, 37, who was working in security at the U.S. embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, at the time of his arrest in 2022, was recently extradited to the United States.

Giannakakis’ brother, whose name was not disclosed by federal authorities, was identified as the prime suspect in the arsons but was hospitalized in a coma and died in 2020. Giannakakis was indicted by a federal grand jury in Boston in 2019 on multiple charges related to domestic terrorism.

After serving a sentence in a Swedish prison for unlawfully possessing a firearm and other weapons, Giannakakis was extradited to the U.S. following a request from the American government. He appeared in federal court in Boston on Thursday and entered a plea of not guilty. His next court date is set for February 22.

According to the indictment, the investigation into the arsons began in February 2020, with Giannakakis’ younger brother being identified as the primary suspect. The targeted institutions included a Chabad Center in Arlington, where two fires occurred on May 11 and May 16, 2019, a Chabad Center in Needham, and a Jewish-affiliated business in Chelsea.

The charges against Giannakakis carry significant prison sentences, including up to eight years for making false statements involving domestic terrorism and up to 20 years for concealing records in a federal investigation, tampering with documents and objects, and tampering with an official proceeding.

The case has drawn attention due to the nature of the crimes and the impact they had on the local Jewish community. The plea of not guilty by Giannakakis adds another layer of complexity to the ongoing legal proceedings. The court will now determine the next steps in the case as it moves forward.

This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of investigating and prosecuting acts of domestic terrorism to ensure the safety and security of all communities. The Boston community continues to seek justice for the affected institutions and individuals, and the trial of Alexander Giannakakis will be closely watched as it unfolds in the coming weeks.

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