Mohamed Elshinawy, a Maryland man who pleaded guilty last year to providing ISIS material support and planning a huge terrorist attack in the U.S., may face additional charges before his sentencing scheduled for later this week.
Elshinawy is accused of plotting an attack on a federal building in Baltimore in order to “kill a lot of people” or assassinate “a Texas businessman” after having received thousands of dollars from ISIS. He is the first individual to be charged by federal prosecutors in the state of Maryland for ties to the terrorist group.
According to CBS Baltimore, federal prosecutors are focusing on seven statements Elshinawy made that should prove he was not only working with ISIS, but that he also had bigger plans in the works. They argued that Elshinawy was, in fact, a terrorist who did have plans to carry out attacks in the U.S.
The man was allegedly given the option by his terrorist contacts to either assassinate a Texas business man or plan an attack in the U.S. involving a bomb that would “kill a lot of people.”
Elshinawy received bomb making videos from his contacts, including instructions on building peroxide bombs. He also researched federal buildings in Baltimore, prosecutors said during his hearing.
Elshinawy had already pledged allegiance to ISIS and received $8,700 from individuals he believed were associated with the terror group before any terrorist attack plans were initiated. According to the Department of Justice, he had also expressed his hope that ISIS would be victorious and its enemies defeated, and discussed his readiness to travel to live in the Islamic State. Elshinawy and his co-conspirators used methods of secret communication to help hide their activities from law enforcement.
During his time in court, Elshinawy had an agreement in which he was to provide details to prosecutors that could not be used against him. However, prosecutors now argue that he broke the agreement and are looking to add an additional terrorism enhancement charge to ensure a longer sentence.
Elshinawy’s lawyers argued that, while he was contacted by ISIS with the options, no attacks were ever carried out by Elshinawy, and there was never any evidence that a specific plan was in the works.
He has since pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to ISIS, terrorism financing, and making false statements related to terrorism. A formal sentencing is currently scheduled for March 9, and Elshinway faces up to 20 years in prison.