CINCINNATI – Federal prosecutors on Monday requested a pretrial conference to discuss handling classified information in their case against an Ohio man accused of plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol and kill federal officials and workers.
A motion asks U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith for a meeting about the case of Christopher Lee Cornell, who has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder of U.S. officials and employees.
The FBI has said that Cornell, 20, wanted to "wage jihad" by attacking the Capitol with pipe bombs and shooting government officials and employees. His father said he was "coerced" by a "snitch"; the FBI has said a confidential informant was involved.
"Due to the nature of the charges and the expected evidence, the United States anticipates that issues relating to classified information will arise," the motion stated.
The prosecutors cited the Classified Information Procedures Act, which sets out steps to harmonize a suspect's right to obtain material to help him defend himself with restrictions on disclosure of material linked to national security interests.
The FBI has said Cornell, a resident of the western Cincinnati suburb of Green Township, sent social media messages and posted video in support of Islamic State militants and violent attacks by others. Court documents weren't clear on whether Cornell made contact with any terrorist group.
House Speaker John Boehner has credited a government surveillance program for helping uncover the alleged plot. Boehner cited the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that allows the FBI to obtain search warrants and communications intercepts in intelligence cases.
Cornell, who uses his Muslim name of Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, was arrested Jan. 14 outside an Ohio gun shop and range after, authorities said, he bought two semi-automatic rifles and 600 rounds of ammunition.
He has been held without bond.
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