Feds Seeking Max Sentence for Islamic State-Supporting Illinois Soldier

\FILE - In this March 26, 2015 file courtroom sketch, Jonas Edmonds, left, and his cousin
AP Photo/Tom Gianni, File

Federal prosecutors in Illinois are asking for the maximum 30-year sentence for a former U.S. Army National Guard soldier who pleaded guilty to a plot to travel overseas and use his military training to fight on behalf of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).

The National Guard soldier’s cousin was planning to kill up to 150 of his fellow soldiers at the Joliet Armory where he had been stationed.

In a new filing, prosecutors wrote that “betraying one’s country while in its service is a particularly grave crime,” reports the Associated Press (AP).

The plot is “a contemptible betrayal of both the Nation’s trust and his fellow soldiers,” added the filing.

AP notes:

Hasan Edmonds, 23, of Aurora, [IL] deserves the stiffest penalty available under the law because he violated the oath he took when he joined the National Guard to defend the United States against all enemies, a government sentencing memorandum filed Friday in Chicago federal court says…

Prosecutors have asked U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee to also sentence the men to lifetime periods of supervised release once out of prison.

Ex-National Guard Specialist Hasan, a U.S. citizen, was arrested at Chicago’s Midway International Airport shortly before his cousin, Jonas Edmonds, was detained at his home in Aurora.

On March 25, 2015, Hasan was detained by federal authorities shortly after his cousin dropped him off at the Chicago airport for his planned trip overseas to join ISIS and fight on behalf of the jihadist group.

According to a criminal complaint, the day before the two young men went to the Joliet Armory, where Hasan had trained with the Illinois National Guard, to scout the facility for an attack with AK-47 assault rifles and grenades. The plan was for Jonas to kill as many as 150 people at the facility while Hasan fought on behalf of ISIS overseas.

AP points out:

Jonas Edmonds went to Hasan’ home and collected National Guard uniforms that he planned to wear as a disguise during the armory attack. Hasan Edmonds, filings say, instructed Jonas to kill high-ranking officers first, telling him, “See the stripes, take the shot.”

In mid-December 2015, the former Guardsman pleaded guilty to federal charges that he conspired with his cousin Jonas to provide material support to ISIS in the Middle East.

Specifically, Hasan pleaded guilty under a plea agreement to one count each of conspiring and attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group, ISIS. Hasan is facing 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Also in December 2015, 31-year-old U.S. citizen Jonas pleaded guilty under a plea agreement to one count of conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist group and one count of making a materially false statement to a law enforcement officer regarding an offense involving international terrorism.

He faces a maximum sentence of 23 years behind bars. The two cousins are expected to be sentenced on Sept. 16.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed in December 2015:

According to the plea agreement, Hasan Edmonds and his cousin, Jonas M. Edmonds, devised a plan for Hasan Edmonds to travel to the Middle East for the purpose of waging violence on behalf of ISIL. Hasan Edmonds admitted that on March 25, 2015, Jonas Edmonds drove Hasan Edmonds to Midway International Airport in Chicago so that he could board a flight to the Middle East.

According to the plea agreement, after dropping off Hasan Edmonds, Jonas Edmonds went to Hasan Edmonds’ residence and retrieved several of Hasan Edmonds’ National Guard uniforms, which Jonas Edmonds planned to wear as a disguise during a planned attack at the National Guard base in Joliet, Illinois.

AP reports:

In filings early this month, Hasan Edmonds’ attorney described his client growing up amid violence that included his mother shooting his father. His father converted to Islam in prison and Hasan later followed suit…

The filing says, “Hasan was not only a good soldier, but a trustworthy and dependable friend to others on the base.” It blames Jonas Edmonds for leading the younger Edmonds astray, saying Hasan became “infected by his cousin’s distorted and ultimately destructive visions” of Islam.


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