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A federal grand jury has brought an additional charge against Christopher Lee Cornell, 21, of Green Township, Ohio. In a superseding indictment returned in Cincinnati, he is now also charged with attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
The charge is in addition to the original Jan. 21, 2015, indictment that charged Cornell with attempting to kill officers and employees of the United States, solicitation to commit a crime of violence and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Cornell was charged for his alleged participation in a plot to attack the U.S. Capitol Building and kill government officials.
The superseding indictment, which was returned today, was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart of the Southern District of Ohio and Special Agent in Charge Angela L. Byers of the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Division.
The four-count superseding indictment alleges that on or about August 2014 through January 2015, Cornell allegedly plotted, planned and attempted to attack the U.S. Capitol.
The defendant is also alleged to have attempted to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, specifically the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), knowing that the organization was a designated foreign terrorist organization and that the organization had engaged in and was continuing to engage in terrorist activity. Material support and resources consisted of personnel in the form of the defendant himself by plotting and attempting to execute an attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Cornell allegedly attempted to kill officers and employees of the United States during their official duties, specifically by attempting to attack the U.S. Capitol Building. During that same time, the defendant allegedly attempted to persuade others to kill officers and employees of the United States. Cornell also allegedly possessed two semi-automatic rifles and approximately 600 rounds of ammunition.
Providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization carries a potential maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Attempted murder of government employees and officials is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Solicitation to commit an attempted murder is a crime punishable by 20 years in prison. Possession of a firearm in furtherance of an attempted crime of violence is a crime punishable by a mandatory sentence of five years in prison.
Cornell was arrested on Jan. 14, 2015, by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The JTTF is made up of officers and agents from the Cincinnati Police Department; Colerain, Ohio, Police Department; Dayton, Ohio, Police Department; Ohio State Highway Patrol; U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement; U.S. Secret Service; and West Chester, Ohio, Police Department.
Assistant Attorney General Carlin and U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the investigation of this case by the JTTF. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Michael Dittoe of the Justice Department’s National Security Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Mangan of the Southern District of Ohio.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.