CINCINNATI — A 20-year-old Ohio man charged with plotting an attack at the U.S. Capitol was ordered held without bond Friday after a federal magistrate concluded he was a danger to the community.
Christopher Lee Cornell appeared in a brief detention hearing. He was arrested Wednesday outside a gun shop.
Cornell planned to “wage jihad” by attacking the Capitol with pipe bombs and shooting government officials and employees, the FBI said in court documents.
“I feel that the danger to the community is such that I cannot order bond today,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Bowman said.
An assistant federal public defender, Karen Savir, had asked that Cornell be released with electronic monitoring to his parents’ apartment. She said he had no history of serious trouble and didn’t even have a passport.
She also said Cornell wants to be addressed by his Muslim name, Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, and have access to a prayer mat and a clock so that he can continue his religious practices in jail.
The FBI said Cornell had for months sent social media messages and posted video espousing support for Islamic State militants and for violent attacks by others. Cornell told an informant they should “wage jihad,” authorities said in court papers.
It was unclear from court papers if Cornell had made contact with any terrorist groups.
Similar stings in recent years have led to accusations of entrapment, but the FBI has argued such stings are vital for averting deadly terror attacks, and juries have returned tough sentences.
Cornell’s parents and other family members were in the front row Friday and were warned to be quiet after shouts including “Love you, Chris!”
Cornell’s father, John Cornell, has said his son was set up by a “snitch” who was trying to help himself. He described his son as a “mommy’s boy” who spent hours playing video games in his bedroom. He also said his son was “at peace” after becoming a practicing Muslim.
His son had long expressed distrust of government and the news media, and local police said he disrupted a 9/11 memorial ceremony in 2013.
DAN SEWELL, Associated Press
Associated Press writers Jennifer Smola and Mitch Stacy in Columbus, Ohio, and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.
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