HOUSTON – A Texas man accused of trying to sneak out of the country to join al-Qaida says he never intended to help the terrorist group.
Barry Walter Bujol Jr. told the court during opening statements Monday that he wanted to leave the U.S. because he disagreed with its foreign policy but that he never intended to harm anyone.
The 30-year-old American citizen is representing himself at his trial, which is being heard by a judge, not a jury.
Prosecutors say Bujol sought to join al-Qaida and to provide it with money, restricted U.S. military documents and GPS equipment.
Bujol is charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and aggravated identity theft. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.