Michael Turley Pleads Not Guilty in Terrorist Hoax Video Case
Michael Turley -- also known as the magician "Gianni" -- pleaded not guilty today to charges related to his alleged role as the director of a movie that was produced to "test" the Phoenix Police Department's response to a terrorist situation.
Turley was arrested last month after it was discovered that he allegedly had his nephew wear a sheet on his body and a towel on his head, then run around a Phoenix intersection with a fake rocket-propelled grenade launcher, to see how long it took for PPD to show up.
-Michael Turley Wanted to "Test" Phoenix Cops -- With a Kid Dressed as a Terrorist Running Around With a Fake Grenade Launcher
-Michael Turley Put His Own Nephew Up to the Task of Pretending to Be a Terrorist
-Michael Turley, Alleged Director of Terrorist Hoax Movie, Makes Actual Movies (and Magic)
Turley's video, which has now been seen more than 200,000 times on YouTube, shows exactly how that went down:
According to court documents previously obtained by New Times, Turley told his nephew "to be quick [and] that it was dangerous." Not surprisingly, the kid walking around dressed as a terrorist and carrying a fake rocket-propelled grenade launcher told police he felt like he was in danger.
At Turley's initial appearance, a prosecutor told the judge he'd never seen anything so unusual, and added that it could've been a fatal situation.
According to the court documents, nine separate people called 9-1-1 upon witnessing the boy in character, and numerous patrol officers, officers from Phoenix's Special Assignment Unit, and a helicopter unit ended up responding to the incident.
After detaining both of them, police were told that the two of them were just "making a movie."
It wasn't until recently that police discovered they were allegedly trying to test the cops' response to a terrorist situation -- which they then turned into a movie above.
Turley faces charges of knowingly giving a false impression of a terrorist act, endangerment, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and misconduct involving a simulated explosive.