An Illinois man who thought he was providing phones to help the Islamic State commit attacks was sentenced Friday to 13 and a half years in prison.
“U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood said Edward Schimenti was more culpable of the two men convicted by a jury in 2019,” the Associated Press (AP) reported.
According to prosecutors, Schimenti was unaware he was dealing with a government informant when he said he would collect phones to be used as detonators.
In a press release Friday, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) said according to court documents, the 39-year-old “advocated on social media for violent extremism in support of the terrorist group”:
In 2015, Schimenti began meeting with undercover FBI employees and individuals who, unbeknownst to Schimenti, were cooperating with law enforcement. During the meetings, Schimenti discussed his devotion to ISIS and his commitment to ISIS principles.
In 2017, Schimenti furnished cellular phones to one of the cooperating individuals, believing the phones would be used to detonate explosive devices in ISIS attacks overseas. On April 7, 2017, Schimenti drove with the cooperating individual to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, with the understanding that the cooperating individual would be traveling to Syria to fight with ISIS.
“Co-defendant, Joseph D. Jones, 39, of Zion was also convicted of a conspiracy charge and sentenced last month to 12 years in federal prison,” the agency said.
Five years ago, the men allegedly had a jihadist scheme for an attack on Great Lakes Naval Base, according to ABC 7.
“They also expressed an interest in throwing people off the roof of the (former) Sears Tower skyscraper in Chicago. The violent scenarios were not serious threats, according to Schimenti’s attorney on Friday but were merely stated for ‘shock value,’” the outlet said.
Schimenti reportedly claimed he was “not a terrorist” during his sentencing hearing, adding, “I’m a big softie; a big teddy bear.”
According to prosecutors, Jones and Schimenti are American citizens who pledged allegiance to ISIS and advocated online for violent extremism.