WASHINGTON – Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Gregory G. Lockhart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio and Timothy P. Murphy, Special Agent-in-Charge, FBI Cincinnati Division, announced today that an Ohio man has been indicted and arrested for conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists, conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives) and providing material support and resources to terrorists.
Christopher Paul, a/k/a “Paul Kenyatta Laws,” a/k/a “Abdulmalek Kenyatta,” a 43-year-old U.S. citizen born in Columbus, Ohio, was charged in a three-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Ohio yesterday. He was arrested late yesterday by FBI agents and is expected to complete his initial court appearance today in U.S. District Court in Columbus.
Count one of the indictment alleges that, beginning in1989 and continuing through the present, Paul conspired to provide material support and resources, in the form of personnel (i.e. himself and others), training and equipment, to terrorists knowing that such support would be used in preparation for or in carrying out a conspiracy to destroy property overseas and murder and maim persons located outside the United States.
Specifically, the indictment alleges that, in approximately 1990 and 1991, Paul traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan and received military-training at an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. In approximately mid-1991, Paul allegedly joined al Qaeda and stayed at a guest house exclusively for al Qaeda members. Afterwards, he returned to the U.S. and taught martial arts at a mosque in Columbus. Over the next several years, he allegedly provided money and equipment from the U.S. to individuals overseas as part of the conspiracy. He also allegedly provided training to individuals in the U.S. in order that these individuals might be ready to fight violent jihad overseas.
On or about April 16, 1999, the indictment alleges, Paul traveled to Germany, where he provided explosives training to fellow co-conspirators and assisted them in recruiting new members. In addition, in 2004, 2005 and 2006, Paul stored a variety of items at residences in Columbus, including a laser range finder, night vision scope, books and literature on explosives, remote control items, and other survival gear. Beginning in 2006 and continuing thereafter, Paul allegedly conducted research on commercial flight simulator programs as well as remote-controlled boats and helicopters.
Count two of the indictment alleges that Paul conspired to use a weapon of mass destruction, namely explosives to be used as bombs, when, on or about April 16, 1999, he provided explosives training to co-conspirators in Germany in order to assist them in preparing to conduct attacks using explosives on targets in Europe and the United States.
Count three of the indictment alleges that between April 16, 1999 until about January 2000, Paul provided material support and resources to terrorists in the form of currency, personnel and equipment, knowing and intending that such support would be used in preparation for and in carrying out a conspiracy to destroy property and murder and maim persons located outside the United States.
“The indictment of Christopher Paul paints a disturbing picture of an American who traveled overseas to train as a violent jihadist, joined the ranks of al Qaeda, and provided military instruction and support to radical cohorts both here and abroad,” said Assistant Attorney General Wainstein. “Our persistence and determination in the pursuit of this case should serve as a strong warning to any American who considers joining forces with our enemy.”
“This case exemplifies the necessity of cooperation in order to fight terrorism,” said U.S. Attorney Lockhart. “The sharing of information was crucial to this effort.”
FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Murphy noted the cooperative effort of all the members of the Southern Ohio Joint Terrorism Task Force in conducting the four-year investigation which led to this indictment. The Southern Ohio Joint Terrorism Task Force is a multi-agency operation led by the FBI that includes agents and officers from 15 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The FBI case agent in the investigation is Special Agent Latisha Hartsough.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gary L. Spartis and Dana M. Peters of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio and Trial Attorney Sylvia T. Kaser of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
Count one of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, while count two of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Count three of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
The public is reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.