A key witness in Smith’s terror trial had an affair with a married Republican US congressman
One of the key prosecution witnesses in the ‘Bride of Isis’ trial, Lisa Smith, was involved in a sex scandal in the United States involving a Texas congressman.
s Smith (39) from Dundalk, Co Louth, pleaded not guilty to membership in an illegal terrorist group, the Islamic State, between October 28, 2015 and December 1, 2019.
She also pleaded not guilty to financing terrorism by sending €800 in aid, via a Western Union money transfer, to a man named on May 6.
His trial is ongoing before the Special Criminal Court.
It recently emerged that her former friend Tania Joya had a relationship with married Republican Representative Van Taylor after meeting him through his work as an ex-jihadist helping to deradicalize extremists.
Ms Joya told the Dallas Morning News the relationship lasted from October 2020 to June 2021.
He later apologized and said he would not run for Congress.
In January, Ms. Joya testified that Ms. Smith planned to die as a martyr in Syria.
Ms Smith, a former member of the Defense Force, was ‘brainwashed and told what to think and did what she did because she believed in a false god’, Ms Joya told the Special Criminal Court .
The British national testified to her radicalization in her teens and twenties and explained how she traveled to the Middle East with her husband.
She told the court that Ms Smith was happy and excited when she arrived in Syria in 2013 because it was where she had always planned to be and planned to die a martyr there.
The witness also revealed that Ms Smith admired [Ms Joya’s] first husband, John Georgelas, an American convert considered an authority and scholar on Islam.
Ms Joya said she first heard of Lisa Smith in 2013 when Mr Georgelas started talking to Ms Smith through an Islamic Facebook page called “We Hear and We Obey”.
Ms Joya was living with her husband in Egypt at the time and he urged Ms Smith to travel to Egypt to ‘do the hijrah’ or move to a Muslim-majority country.
Ms Joya, who lives in Texas, has been dubbed the “first lady of Isis”.
In 2020 the mother-of-four, who grew up in Harrow, Middlesex in the UK but now lives in the US with her second husband, began a nine-month relationship with Mr Taylor.
As a result, Mr. Taylor dropped out of his bid for re-election to Congress.
Ms. Joya’s former husband, Mr. Georgelas, grew up in Plano, Texas, converted to Islam and became a top recruiter for the extremist group Islamic State.
In 2013, he took Ms. Joya and their three children to northern Syria where, as Yahya Abu Hassan, he became America’s most prominent fighter for Isis.
He was killed in 2017.
Ms Joya, who was pregnant when she went to Syria with Mr Georgelas, later fled to Turkey with the children before moving to Plano to live near her in-laws.
Following reports that Mr Taylor had been having an affair with the ‘bride of Isis’, the North Texas congressman admitted his infidelity and announced he was ending his re-election campaign. His statement does not mention Ms. Joya’s name.
“About a year ago I made a horrible mistake that caused deep hurt and pain to those I love most in the world,” he wrote.
“I had an affair, it was wrong, and it was the biggest failure of my life.”
The congressman, a Navy and Iraq War veteran, was considered one of the more conservative members of the Texas delegation when he was elected in 2018.
But he has come under heavy criticism from the party’s right for voting to certify the 2020 election results and backing a commission to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising on Capitol Hill.
Towards the end of the affair with Mr Taylor, Ms Joya said she had asked for help to pay off credit card debt and other bills. He gave her $5,000, she
The Englishwoman, who became radicalized after the attacks of September 11, was cited as a witness for the prosecution in the trial of Lisa Smith before the Special Criminal Court.
She testified in January that she and Mr. Georgelas traveled to Syria in 2013 with Ms. Smith.
She said the former soldier was respected for her military training and planned to “die a martyr” during the country’s civil war.
The prosecution alleges that Lisa Smith provided food and vitality to the Islamic State in an act of allegiance to the terrorist group.
Ms Joya told the court Mr Georgelas was ‘like a politician’ with a fundraiser and recalled the defendant sending him £50.
The trial continues.