US man pleads guilty to supporting terrorism
Mobile (US): A man who the FBI said wanted to wage violent jihad in Africa pleaded guilty on Friday to a charge of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
Randy Lamar Wilson, 26, pleaded guilty in federal court in Mobile. Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, he could face 15 years in federal prison, contingent on the information he provides about co-conspirators. US District Judge Kristi DuBose set an October 18 sentencing date for Wilson.
Wilson was arrested in December at the Atlanta airport while boarding a flight with his family to Mauritania.
The same day, agents arrested 25-year-old Mohammad Abdul Rahman Abukhdair, Wilson`s former business partner. Charges against Abukhdair are still pending and his trial is set for August.
Federal prosecutors portrayed Wilson as an Islamist radical who wanted to reunite with Omar Hammami, an American who also grew up in Alabama and became one of the most well-known jihadists in Somalia.
They said Wilson intended to "murder, maim and kidnap" people overseas.
US Attorney Christopher Bodnar said the government could prove that Wilson and Abukhdair made extensive plans to travel to a country where they could participate in a religious war.
Bodnar said the two men wanted to disguise their reason for travelling as tourism or academic study.
Domingo Soto, Wilson`s attorney, said Wilson would provide information about Abukhdair and others as part of the plea agreement.
"He wanted to plead guilty," Soto said. "As far as I`m concerned, this still has to do with free-speech issue," said Soto, who has said that Wilson`s statements could have been misconstrued or taken out of context by government agents.