A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that a Virginia man must remain in jail until trial on a charge that he tried to aid a terrorist group in Iraq, while his public defender argued that he was “entrapped” by undercover FBI agents over “bravado and talk.”
(FOX)- Magistrate Judge Lawrence R. Leonard said Lionel Williams, 26, of Suffolk, Virginia, poses too much of a danger to society.
Williams allegedly swore allegiance to the Islamic State group in Iraq on Facebook. After undercover FBI agents approached him as people aligned with the group, Williams gave $250 to help them buy weapons, according to court documents.
Williams also owned an AK-47 assault rifle and allegedly told undercover agents that he wanted to commit a local “martyrdom operation” before his arrest in late December.
The judge said that even without his AK-47, which the FBI confiscated, Williams could pose a threat “as we’ve seen in Berlin and Nice” where terrorists struck pedestrians with trucks.
In trying to free Williams before trial, federal public defender Keith Kimball argued that prosecutors have a weak case. He said Williams’ discussions about the Islamic State group were simply political speech and religious rhetoric that are constitutionally protected.