Edward Schimenti, an Illinois resident, along with another man named Joseph D. Jones, are accused of putting up a conspiracy theory in 2017 to support Daesh so as to travel to Syria to join the militant group.
A federal judge sentenced Edward Schimenti to 13.5 years in prison for conspiring to provide material support for Daesh and lying to the FBI.
Another man, Joseph D. Jones, who is also alleged to be a part of the plot, was sentenced for 12 years for his connections to the conspiracy.
US District Judge Andrea Wood called Schimenti the “more culpable” of the two, having had a “better idea of what he was getting himself into.” The judge described the crime as “on the less serious end of a scale that starts at a very serious level.”
During the hearing, according to Fox News, Schimenti told the judge that he was “just a big teddy bear”, not a terrorist, and asked for “another chance at life”.
“I have a heart. I have feelings. I have emotions,” he reportedly said in court.
The two were found guilty in 2019, having advocated for extremism in support of the Daesh group on social media. The plot to travel to Syria and join the terrorists was prevented by FBI operatives, who went undercover as informants.
According to Chicago Sun Times, one of Schimenti’s social media posts read: “Islamic State will control your country, matter of fact, Islam will dominate the world!!” He also reportedly told the FBI informant during their preparations for their unsuccessful departure to Syria “I want to see blood flowing, either way.”
On 7 April, 2017, Jones and Schimenti drove the operative to Chicago airport, assured that the latter would be traveling to Syria to fight alongside the terrorist group.
*Daesh (ISIS, ISIL, IS or Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries.