More than 18 months after he was arrested at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, the Dayton man who allegedly called himself a “perfect ISIS recruit” is scheduled to stand trial Tuesday in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.
Laith Alebbini, 28, faces one count of knowingly attempting “to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization in the form of personnel to work under ISIS’s direction and control.”
Alebbini waived his jury trial and will have his case decided by U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice. Alebbini has pleaded not guilty. The trial is scheduled to go at least through the week.
Alebbini’s defense attorneys recently withdrew several motions when the jury trial was dropped and wrote that the parties “have settled how to handle the pretrial disclosure of evidence.”
Alebbini’s attorneys had filed motions asking prosecutors to provide the identity of informants and any promises made to cooperating witnesses.
Federal public defender Thomas Anderson also filed motions to compel prosecutors to disclose the witness and exhibit list at least 14 days before trial, testimony of government witnesses and any other “bad acts” Alebbini allegedly has committed that may be used in trial.
Federal prosecutors had given notice that they would use information collected under authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), according to court records.
Prosecutors allege that in April 2017, Alebbini tried to board a flight to Jordan from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
“The flight was purchased with funds provided by the FBI and given to Laith by a Confidential Informant working for the FBI,” Anderson wrote earlier this year. “To date there has been no indication that Laith had any communication, whatsoever, with anyone from ISIS or purporting to be in any way affiliated with ISIS.
“The government’s theory is not that Laith was plotting any type of terrorist attack either in America or abroad, but rather that he intended to ultimately make his way to join ISIS in Syria for the sole purpose of killing (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad.”
Prosecutors previously invoked the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) in the Alebbini case to “protect classified information from disclosure.”
Alebbini’s case is similar to that of Beavercrek 19-year-old Naser Almadaoji, who recently was indicted on the same charge as Alebbini. That count The count carries a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Almadaoji, 19, was arrested in October at the John Glenn International Airport in Columbus where he allegedly attempted to fly to Kazakhstan.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Benjamin Glassman said evidence shows Almadaoji’s plan was to be smuggled into Afghanistan and join ISIS Khorasan, an affiliate of ISIS in that country, to be trained.
Almadaoji pleaded not guilty at an arraignment last week. Rice set a telephone scheduling conference for Nov. 15.
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