United States District Court, D. Maryland
Lipton Hollander United States District Judge.
Mohamed Y. Elshinawy is a United States citizen of Egyptian
descent, born in 1985. Although defendant spent much of his
life in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, he began to travel frequently
between Egypt and the United States, beginning in or about
2007. On December 11, 2015, defendant was arrested in the
State of Maryland, where he then resided. ECF 6. About a
month later, on January 13, 2016, he was indicted on charges
that included conspiracy to provide and providing material
support to ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organization
(“FTO”). ECF 19. Elshinawy entered a plea of
guilty to all charges on August 15, 2017, and is awaiting
Memorandum Opinion resolves several issues pertinent to
sentencing. Most significantly, it addresses (1) whether
Elshinawy is subject to a 12-level terrorism enhancement
under Section 3A1.4 of the United States Sentencing
Guidelines (“U.S.S.G.” or the
“Guidelines”), and (2) whether the defendant
beached his proffer agreement with the government. I shall
also briefly consider other potentially applicable sections
of the Guidelines.
reasons that follow, I conclude that the defendant is subject
to the terrorism enhancement. I reach that conclusion without
relying on any information provided by the defendant during
his proffer session with the government on August 2, 2017.
Nevertheless, I am satisfied that the defendant has breached
his proffer agreement.
October 15, 2004, the United States Secretary of State
designated al-Qa'ida in Iraq as a FTO. ECF 120 at 9. In
May 2014 and September 2015, the Secretary of State amended
the designation to add various aliases, including the Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant (“ISIL”); the
Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (“ISIS”); the
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (“ISIS”); and
Daesh, among other names.
Indictment (ECF 19) contains four counts, as follows:
conspiracy to provide material support or resources to ISIS,
a designated FTO, i.e., personnel (including the
defendant himself), services (including means and methods of
communication), and financial services, in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 2339B(a)(1) and §§ 2339B(d)(1)(A),
(D), (E), and (F) (Count One); providing and attempting to
provide material support to ISIS, in the form of personnel
(including the defendant), services (including means and
methods of communication, and financial services, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339B(a)(1) and §§
2339B(d)(1)(A), (D), (E) and (F) (Count Two); unlawful
financing of terrorism, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§§ 2339C(a)(1)(B), 2339C(a)(3) (Count Three); and
willfully making materially false statements and
representations to agents of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (“FBI”), in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 1001(a)(2) (Count Four). Id. The Indictment
refers, inter alia, to Individual #1, who has since
been identified as Tamer Elkhodary (“Elkhodary”),
an Egyptian national who resides overseas. He is also
defendant's childhood friend and a member of ISIS.
August 15, 2017, the defendant entered a plea of guilty to
all four counts of the Indictment (ECF 119). The
defendant's Plea Agreement (ECF 120) exposes the
defendant to a maximum sentence of 68 years of incarceration.
Id. ¶ 3. Of import here, the terms of the Plea
Agreement leave open the critical question of whether the
defendant is subject to the twelve-level terrorism
enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 3A1.4.
on both sides have devoted considerable time and effort to
the issue of the terrorism enhancement, as well as to other
issues relevant to sentencing under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a),
as evidenced by their voluminous and comprehensive
submissions. Elshinawy's initial sentencing memorandum is
docketed at ECF 138, supported by numerous exhibits. The
government's initial sentencing memorandum is docketed at
ECF 139, also with multiple exhibits. Defendant's reply
is at ECF 143, with exhibits, and the government's reply
is at ECF 145, with exhibits. Additional government exhibits
are docketed at ECF 202 and ECF 208. Further, the government
submitted a video that it claims is relevant under 18 U.S.C.
§ 3553(a) (ECF 219), as well as a copy of its PowerPoint
presentation, used at a sentencing hearing. ECF 231. By my
calculation, the parties' submissions well exceed 2, 500
the pendency of sentencing proceedings, several disputes
arose between the parties. To start, on November 29, 2017,
shortly before the Court was to hold the first sentencing
hearing, the government claimed that the defendant breached
his proffer agreement of July 14, 2017. See ECF 148
(government's letter of November 29, 2017); ECF 172-2
(proffer agreement). At its core, the basis of the claim
rests on certain representations, assertions, and contentions
contained in the sentencing memoranda submitted by defense
counsel, which the government contends are materially
different from the defendant's statements made during his
proffer on August 2, 2017. Therefore, the government argues
that it is entitled to introduce relevant portions of
defendant's proffer. The defense vigorously disputes the
claim of breach.
matter concerning the proffer is tantamount to a case within
a case, as the parties' flurry of submissions reflects.
With regard to the proffer, the government's submissions
include the following: ECF 148; ECF 155; ECF 164; ECF 172;
ECF 195; ECF 204; ECF 215; and ECF 218. The defendant's
submissions are docketed at ECF 151; ECF 179; ECF 187; ECF
199; ECF 210; and ECF 230.
parties also vigorously disputed the admissibility of the
opinion testimony of defendant's expert, Marc Sageman,
M.D., Ph.D. On October 19, 2017, the government filed a
motion to strike Dr. Sageman's testimony (ECF 125), which
the defense opposed. ECF 152. See also ECF 155 and
ECF 157. At the hearing on December 4, 2017, I orally denied
the government's motion to bar the testimony of Dr.
Sageman, for the reasons that I set forth on the record. He
was received as a defense expert in terrorism,
counter-terrorism, and psychiatry. See ECF 192 (Tr.
of December 4, 2017), at 40-43.
on December 8, 2017, the government disclosed that it had
just learned the surprising news that on November 28, 2017,
FBI agents involved in this case submitted to an
on-the-record interview with two Associated Press reporters.
ECF 181. Once a transcript of the interview was obtained, it
was produced to the defense. Elshinawy suggests that the FBI
agents' comments during the interview support his view
that he is not subject to the terrorism enhancement because
he “was not operational, ” had “no ties to
any other ISIS members in the United States, ” and even
the FBI did not believe the defendant was planning an attack.
See ECF 199 at 3-5.
December 4, 2017, December 5, 2017, February 12, 2018, and
February 16, 2018, the court held sentencing hearings, at
which both evidence and argument were presented. The parties
also submitted proposed sentencing findings of fact and
conclusions of law on February 13, 2018. See ECF 223
(defendant); ECF 225 (government).
defense counsel's valiant effort on behalf of the
defendant, they cannot turn the proverbial sow's ear into
a silk purse. Without regard to use of the proffer
material, and for the reasons stated below, I conclude that
the evidence readily demonstrates that the terrorism
enhancement applies here.
The Terrorism Enhancement
terrorism enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 3A1.4 is
“steep.” United States v. Fidse, 778
F.3d 477, 481 (5th Cir. 2015) (“Fidse
I”). Section 3A1.4 provides that if the offense of
conviction “is a felony that involves, or was intended
to promote a federal crime of terrorism, ” the
resulting offense level is increased by 12 levels, and the
defendant's actual criminal history category
automatically becomes a category VI, regardless of the
defendant's criminal history. U.S.S.G. § 3A1.4(a),
(b). If, after the increase of 12 levels, the resulting
offense level is less than 32, the court must increase the
offense level to 32. U.S.S.G. § 3A1.4(a).
“federal crime of terrorism” is a “key
term.” United States v. Chandia, 514 F.3d 365,
375 (4th Cir. 2008) (“Chandia I”). Under
Application Note 1 to U.S.S.G. § 3A1.4, the term
“‘federal crime of terrorism' has the meaning
given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 2332b(g)(5).” A
federal crime of terrorism under § 2332b(g)(5) consists
of two components. First, the offense must constitute a
violation of one or more enumerated felonies. The specified
felonies include three of the offenses to which the defendant
has pleaded guilty: 18 U.S.C. § 2339B (Material Support
of Terrorism, as charged in counts One and Two) and 18 U.S.C.
§ 2339C (Unlawful Financing of Terrorism, as charged in
Count Three). Second, there is a “specific intent
requirement, ” which means that the offense must be
“calculated to influence or affect the conduct of
government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate
against government conduct.” See §§
2332b(g)(5)(A), (B); see also Chandia I, 514 F.3d at
the government bears the burden of proof. But, it need only
prove the application of § 3A1.4 by a preponderance of
the evidence. United States v. Fidse, 862 F.3d 516,
523 (5th Cir. 2017) (“Fidse II”);
United States v. Wright, 747 F.3d 399, 407 (6th Cir.
2014); United States v. Chandia, 675 F.3d 329,
339-40 (4th Cir. 2012) (“Chandia III”);
United States v. Benkahla, 530 F.3d 300, 312 (4th
applying § 3A1.4, a district court must identify the
particular federal crime of terrorism that the defendant
intended to promote; assure satisfaction of the elements of
§ 2332b(g)(5)(A); and support its conclusions with
reference to facts from the record. United States v.
Graham, 275 F.3d 490, 517 (6th Cir. 2001). The Court
explained in United States v. Hassan, 742 F.3d 104,
148 (4th Cir. 2014) (quoting Chandia I, 514 F.3d at
376): “[A] court deciding whether to impose the
terrorism enhancement must ‘resolve any factual
disputes that it deems relevant to application of the
enhancement, ' and then, if it finds the requisite
intent, ‘should identify the evidence in the record
that supports its determination.'” See also
Chandia III, 675 F.3d at 331; United States v.
Chandia, 395 F. App'x 53, 56 (4th Cir. 2010)
sides seem to agree that the convictions in counts One, Two,
and Three constitute felonies enumerated by the applicable
statute. ECF 223 at 2; ECF 225 at 1-2. But, the parties
vehemently disagree as to whether the government has
satisfied the specific intent requirement, i.e.,
that the crimes were “calculated to influence or affect
the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to
retaliate against government conduct.” 18 U.S.C.§
false statement charge in Count Four is not an enumerated
felony in § 2332b(g)(5). However, Application Note 2 to
U.S.S.G. § 3A1.4 provides, in part, that
“obstructing an investigation of a federal crime of
terrorism, shall be considered to have involved, or to have
been intended to promote, that federal crime of
terrorism.” This is not a case involving an actual
terrorist act, which would, “standing alone, support
application of the terrorism enhancement” based on
“an automatic inference of the required intent.”
Chandia I, 514 F.3d at 376. However, “the
terrorism enhancement can be applied to inchoate offenses,
such as attempt and conspiracy.” Wright, 747
F.3d at 407. This is “consistent with the text of
§ 3A1.4(a), which extends the enhancement to felonies
‘that involved or [were] intended to promote a
federal crime of terrorism' . . . .” Id.
(bracket and italics in Wright; citation omitted).
Thus, even if a terrorist act was only contemplated, rather
than executed, this may give rise to an inference of the
requisite intent under § 3A1.4. See Chandia I,
514 F.3d at 376.
indicated, Elshinawy is charged with conspiracy to provide
material support, as well as substantive offenses. And, in
United States v. Abu Ali, 528 F.3d 210 (4th Cir.
2008), which involved federal crimes of terrorism, the Court
said, in regard to sentencing, that “unrealized
harm” is not a basis to deviate from the Guidelines,
because it would be tantamount to “requir[ing] an act
of completion for an offense that clearly contemplates
incomplete conduct.” Id. at 264. The Court
added: “By definition, conspiracy offenses do not
require that all objects of the conspiracy be
order to apply the enhancement, however, there must be
evidence in the record that establishes that the defendant
“intended to advance [a terrorist] purpose in providing
material support . . . .” Chandia III, 675
F.3d at 340. However, the claimed personal motive for the
offense is “simply not relevant” to the intent
inquiry. United States v. Jayyousi, 657 F.3d 1085,
1115 (11th Cir. 2011) (quoting United States v.
Awan, 607 F.3d 306, 317 (2nd Cir. 2010)). Nor must the
government prove that the defendant had the means or ability
to implement his plans. United States v. Mandhai,
375 F.3d 1243, 1248 (11th Cir. 2004). Rather, “it is
the defendant's purpose that is relevant, and if that
purpose is to promote a terrorism crime, the enhancement is
triggered.” Id. But, influencing or affecting
government need not be the defendant's “ultimate or
sole aim.” Wright, 747 F.3d at 408; see
Jayyousi, 657 F.3d at 1114-15; Awan, 607 F.3d
at 317. And, of import here, specific intent may be found
without direct evidence of the defendant's state of mind.
Wright, 747 F.3d at 408; United States v.
Dye, 538 F. App'x 654, 666 (6th Cir. 2013).
rules of statutory construction apply when interpreting the
Guidelines. United States v. Ashford, 718 F.3d 377,
382 (4th Cir. 2013). Thus, the terms in the Guidelines are
generally accorded their ordinary and common meanings.
Awan, 607 F.3d at 313; United States v.
Stewart, 590 F.3d 93, 137 (2d Cir. 2009).
defendant's offense “involves” a federal
crime of terrorism “when his offense includes such a
crime, i.e., the defendant committed, attempted, or
conspired to commit a federal crime of terrorism as defined
in 18 U.S.C. § 2332b(g)(5) . . . .” Awan,
607 F.3d at 313. With regard to the phrase “intended to
promote, ” it must be construed “to avoid
redundancy” with the word “involves.”
Id. at 314. Applying the ordinary meaning of the
phrase, an offense is “intended to promote” a
federal crime of terrorism when it is “intended to help
bring about, encourage, or contribute to” such a crime.
Id.; see also Mandhai, 375 F.3d at 1248.
the phrase “calculated to influence or affect the
conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to
retaliate against government conduct” in 18 U.S.C.
§ 2332b(g)(5)(A), the “standard” for the
enhancement focuses on the offense, asking
“‘whether it was calculated, i.e., planned-for
whatever reason or motive-to achieve the stated
object.'” United States v. Ali, 799 F.3d
1008, 1031 (8th Cir. 2015) (citations omitted); see
United States v. Mohamed, 757 F.3d 757, 760 (8th Cir.
2014). Further, “‘[c]alculation is concerned with
the object that the actor seeks to achieve through planning
or contrivance.'” Ali, 799 F.3d at 1031
United States v. Siddiqui, 699 F.3d 690 (2nd Cir.
2012), the Second Circuit explained: “Many courts . . .
interpret ‘calculated' as nearly synonymous with
intentional.” Id. at 709. For that
proposition, the court cited, inter alia,
Chandia III, 675 F.3d at 333 n.3. The
Siddiqui Court said, 699 F.3d at 709: “Thus,
‘if a defendant's purpose in committing an
offense is to influence or affect the conduct of government
by intimidation or coercion, . . . application of the
terrorism enhancement is warranted.'” (Emphasis in
Siddiqui; citations and some quotation marks
omitted). And, the court rejected the defense's argument
that “long-term planning” is a requirement for
the enhancement. Id. Rather, the court made clear
that “the terrorism enhancement is applicable where a
defendant acts according to a plan-whether developed over a
long period of time or developed in a span of seconds-with
the object of influencing government conduct or retaliating .
. . .” Id.
Chandia trilogy is particularly illuminating. There,
the defendant was convicted of conspiring to provide and
providing material support to a FTO, in violation of 18
U.S.C. §§ 2339A and 2339B. The material support of
the defendant included that he went to the airport to pick up
an official of Lashkar-e-Taiba (“LET”), a FTO;
gave him access to a computer; and helped with the shipment
of materials to Pakistan for use by LET. Chandia I,
514 F.3d at 370. The defendant had also travelled to Pakistan
to attend military training camps operated by LET. See
Chandia III, 675 F.3d at 332. The district court applied
the terrorism enhancement, without explanation. Chandia
I, 514 F.3d at 376.
first appeal, the Fourth Circuit remanded because “the
district court did not make any factual findings related to
the intent element. Id. Instead, [the district
court] appeared to assume (erroneously) that the enhancement
automatically applies to a material support
conviction.” Id. On remand, the district court
again applied the enhancement, noting that the defendant
“‘clearly knew' of LET's [terrorist]
purpose and ‘was clearly involved in assisting
it.'” Chandia II, 395 F. App'x at 59.
The defendant appealed again, and the Fourth Circuit again
remanded, observing that “facts that the district court
relied upon essentially restate the facts underlying [the
defendant's] material support conviction, without
explaining how these facts speak to [the defendant's]
motive for providing the support.” Id. at 60.
third sentencing, the trial court found that the evidence
showed, inter alia, that 1) the defendant knew that
LET engaged in acts of terrorism, as evidenced by emails he
received, his research, and websites he visited; and 2) he
knew the individual to whom he provided support was a leader
of the FTO, as evidenced by testimony of what the defendant
witnessed in Lahore, Pakistan and his efforts to conceal his
communications with the FTO's leader by use of encrypted
messaging. Chandia III, 675 F.3d at 336-37. The
district court concluded that the defendant's
“actions here and his support, intended to influence or
affect government conduct by intimidation or coercion or to
retaliate against government conduct.” Id. at
appeal for the third time, the Fourth Circuit upheld the
application of the enhancement, finding that “the court
did not repeat the mistake of relying solely on [the
defendant's] knowledge of LET's terrorist purpose; it
reasonably inferred by a preponderance of the evidence that
[the defendant] intended to advance that purpose in providing
material support to [the LET official].” Id.
in Hassan, 742 F.3d 104, the Fourth Circuit again
considered whether, under 18 U.S.C. § 2332b(g)(5),
certain conduct was “calculated to influence or affect
the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to
retaliate against government conduct.” It concluded
that the district judge properly found that the three
defendants all possessed the requisite intent. Id.
at 149. In this regard, the trial judge's findings are
defendant Hassan, the trial judge's finding was based on
evidence such as Hassan's desire to wage “violent
jihad”; he “‘became part of a loose group
with conspirators whose goal was to kill non-Muslims' . .
. .”; the defendant played a “role in advancing
‘jihadist propaganda' . . . .”; he tried
“‘to offer himself as a fighter'”; and
he traveled to the Middle East. Id. at 149. As to
defendant Yaghi, the court found specific intent because,
inter alia, the defendant “initiated a corrupt
relationship” with an individual he
“‘sought out'” at an Islamic Center in
order “‘to learn more about traveling abroad to
commit violent jihad.'” Id. Further, the
trial court relied on the defendant's travels to the
Middle East and his postings on Facebook as evidence of
intent to commit jihad. Id. In the trial court's
words, the defendant “had gone ‘beyond words to
actions' . . . .” Id. at 150. And, of
particular relevance here, as to defendant Sherifi the court
noted, inter alia, that he received $15, 000 to
support the mujahideen. Id.
States v. Hammoud, 381 F.3d 316 (4th Cir. 2004) (en
banc), vacated on other grounds, 543 U.S. 1097
(2005), reinstated, 405 F.3d 1034 (4th Cir. 2005),
also provides guidance. There, the defendant was convicted,
inter alia, of providing material support to
Hizballah, a FTO. The Court determined that the intent prong
of § 3A1.4 was satisfied based on evidence that the
defendant donated $3, 500 to the FTO, played videotapes
during meetings at his home that included speeches by leaders
of Hizballah praising men who had martyred themselves against
the United States and Israel, and encouraged donations to
support the FTO. Id. at 340-41.
recent case of United States v. Van Haften, 881 F.3d
543, 544 (7th Cir. 2018), is also helpful to the analysis. In
that case, the defendant pleaded guilty to attempting to
provide material support to a FTO. See 18 U.S.C.
§ 2339B(a)(1). At sentencing, the district court
concluded that the terrorism enhancement applied. The Seventh
Circuit affirmed. Id. at 545.
relevance, the trial judge found that the defendant's
writings on Facebook and elsewhere established “a
direct causal link between his hatred of the United States
government and his desire to ‘join my brothers for
the war against American liars' and ‘kill me some
American soldier boys.'” Id. at 544. These
statements persuaded the trial court that the defendant
sought to retaliate against the government “for its
treatment of Muslims in general” and for the defendant
in particular, because he had previously been designated a
sex offender. Id. To be sure, the defense
highlighted several inconsistent statements of the defendant,
thereby “muddying the waters” and suggesting that
the defendant's motivations did not support the finding.
Id. But, the appellate court observed that the
defendant's own statements demonstrated that he
“sought to join ISIS to take up arms against America .
. . .” Id. at 545.
United States v. Ali, supra, 799 F.3d 1008,
the defendants were naturalized citizens who were born in
Somalia. Id. at 1014. They were convicted of
providing and conspiring to provide material support to
al-Shabaab, a FTO, and of making a false statement.
Id. at 1014. At sentencing, the district court
applied the terrorism enhancement after concluding, inter
alia, that the defendants' offenses were calculated
to influence or affect the conduct of government by
intimidation or coercion or to retaliate. Id. at
1032. The trial court pointed to defendants' contact with
al-Sabaab members; their “vocal support” of the
FTO's efforts “to expel” by
“force” Somalia's Transitional Federal
Government (“TFG”); and their “fundraising
efforts in support of that cause.” Id. at
10312. The court also noted that defendant Hassan expressed
“joy” when she learned of a suicide bombing that
targeted a TGF minister. Id. And, defendant Ali said
“Thanks God” upon learning that the FTO had
killed “forces aligned with the TGF . . . .”
Id. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. Id. at
other cases are consistent with the principles discussed
above. See, e.g., United States v. Haipe,
769 F.3d 1189, 1193 (D.C. Cir. 2014); United States v.
Mohammed, 693 F.3d 192 (D.C. Cir. 2012); United
States v. El-Mezain, 664 F.3d 467, 451 (11th Cir. 2011).
defendant correctly observes that if the terrorism
enhancement does not apply, the Court must consider
Application Note 4 to § 3A1.4. See ECF 138 at
28. Note 4 provides, in part, that if the offense involved or
was intended to promote an enumerated offense, “but the
terrorist motive was to intimidate or coerce a civilian
population, rather than to influence or affect the conduct of
government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate
against government conduct, ” then an upward departure
is “warranted.” However, the departure may not
exceed the top end of the Guidelines range that would have
applied with the terrorism enhancement.
to Application Note 2 to § 3A1.4, the False Statement
charge in Count Four may qualify as a federal crime of
terrorism. See Fidse II, 862 F.3d at 522-25;
Awan, 607 F.3d at 314; Mandhai, 375 F.3d at
1247-48. Application Note 2 to § 3A1.4 states, in part:
“For purposes of this guideline, an offense that
involved . . . (B) obstructing an investigation of a federal
crime of terrorism, shall be considered to have involved, or
to have been intended to promote, that federal crime of
terrorism.” Therefore, the government maintains that
the enhancement applies to Count Four, as well. See
ECF 139 at 8; U.S.S.G. § 3A1.4, n.2.
States v. Benkahla, 530 F.3d 300 (4th Cir. 2008), is
informative as to the issue. In that case, the defendant was
convicted of making material false statements to the grand
jury, obstructing justice, and making material false
statements to the FBI. On appeal, the defendant complained
that the district court erred in applying the terrorism
enhancement under § 3A1.4. Id. at 310.
Recognizing the “duty to harmonize Guidelines and
commentary, ” the Fourth Circuit observed, id.
One might wonder, in the abstract, whether obstructing an
investigation into a federal crime of terrorism necessarily
‘involve[s]' a federal crime of terrorism, but
plainly one could think that it does, and Application Note 2
decides the matter. Indeed, the language of Application Note
2 is identical in all material respects to the language of
§ 3A1.4 itself. There is no inconsistency of any kind.
the Court noted that application of § 3A1.4 in the
defendant's case was “straightforward.”
Id. at 311. In this regard, the Court pointed out
that the defendant was convicted of obstruction offenses, and
Application Note 2 provides that obstruction offenses qualify
for the enhancement, “so long as the thing obstructed
qualifies as an investigation into a ‘federal crime of
terrorism.'” Id. In the Court's view,
the provision was satisfied because the defendant obstructed
a grand jury investigation into violations of statutes
specified as federal crimes of terrorism (§§ 2339A
and 2339B) and the violations involved the training of people
at jihadist camps. Id. at 312.
Fifth Circuit has further clarified that an obstruction
offense “could still ‘qualify for the enhancement
if it was intended to promote-that is, “was
intended to encourage, further, or bring about”-a
federal crime of terrorism.'” Fidse II,
862 F.3d at 523 (quoting Fidse I, 778 F.3d at 481)
(emphasis in Fidse II) (alterations omitted).
this legal framework in mind, I turn to a summary of the
facts. The facts establish that defendant pledged allegiance
to the leader of ISIS, knowing the terrorist purpose of ISIS
and in support of it; he accepted funds from ISIS to commit a
terrorist attack in this country; he was committed to waging
jihad; and defendant's conduct was “calculated to
influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation
or coercion . . . .” 18 U.S.C. § 2332b(g)(5)(A).
The Plea Agreement
review of the relevant facts necessarily begins with the Plea
Agreement (ECF 120), which contains a “Stipulated
Statement of Facts, ” included as Attachment A
(“Stipulation”). Id. at 9-11. In the
Stipulation, the defendant has admitted to facts that satisfy
all of the elements of each of the charged
“broad terms” (ECF 138 at 7), the Stipulation
sets forth facts that include the following: defendant
pledged allegiance to ISIS; he accepted money from ISIS to
fund a terrorist attack in the United States; he used various
forms of social media to communicate with coconspirators; he
attempted, albeit without success, to recruit his brother to
join ISIS; and he lied to the FBI during the course of the
investigation. See Id. The details of the
other things, defendant admits that he knowingly and
intentionally conspired with others to provide material
support or resources to ISIS (Count One); that he knowingly
provided, and attempted to provide, material support or
resources to ISIS (Count Two); that he willfully collected
funds, directly or indirectly, with the knowledge that such
funds were to be used, in whole or in part, to carry out a
terrorist attack intended to cause death or serious bodily
injury to civilians (Count Three); and he knowingly and
willfully made false statements to agents of the FBI with
respect to a terrorism investigation (Count Four).
See ECF 120 at 9-11.
Stipulation reflects that in September and October of 2014,
the defendant conversed with “Individual #1.”
Id. at 9. (As noted, Individual #1 is the
defendant's friend and coconspirator, Tamer Elkhodary,
who is a member of ISIS). The defendant admitted that he knew
ISIS is a foreign terrorist organization; he expressed his
belief “in the legitimacy of ISIS”; he expressed
his support for an Islamic caliphate; and he expressed
“his hope that ISIS would be victorious and its enemies
defeated.” Id. In addition, defendant
acknowledged his “readiness to travel to Syria . . . to
live in the Islamic State . . . .” Id.
February 17, 2015, through social media, defendant
“pledged his allegiance” to ISIS; described
himself as a “soldier” of ISIS; committed himself
to “violent jihad”; and asked Elkhodary to
“convey his message of loyalty to ISIS
leadership.” ECF 120 at 9. And, the defendant
agreed not to discuss his “plans for a potential
terrorist attack . . . .” Id. In other chats
with Elkhodary between March and June of 2015, the defendant
“sought guidance” from Elkhodary “on how to
obtain or make some sort of explosive device and a
silencer.” Id. And, he discussed his efforts
to undertake “extreme security measures” to
conceal his activities. Id. In addition, the
defendant discussed his “preparedness for Jihad . . .
March and June 2015, defendant received approximately $8, 700
from his ISIS coconspirators, “to be used to conduct a
terrorist attack in the United States.” Id. at
10; see also ECF 230. Most of the monies were
received through transfers from an online financial account
associated with an organization referred to in the Plea
Agreement as the “UK Company, ” which was based
in Wales, United Kingdom, and Dhaka, Bangladesh. ECF 120 at
10. The UK Company was “made up of a number of
related entities, ” and its primary business”
consisted of the provision of IT products and services.
Id. (In other submissions, the UK Company is
referred to as “Ibacs”). The owner of the UK
company, identified as “Individual #2, was a national
of Bangladesh who traveled to Syria in 2014 to join ISIS and
to “assist in its development of weaponized drone
technology.” ECF 120 at 10. He was killed on December
10, 2015, while fighting with ISIS. Id.
agreed that Individual #2 relied on “Individual #3,
” a Director of the UK Company, as well as on
“Individual #4, ” an employee of the UK Company,
to use financial and business accounts associated with the UK
Company to send monies to defendant. Id. They also
purchased drone technology for ISIS. Id.
utilizing the UK Company's name and business accounts,
members of the conspiracy were able to conceal the true
nature of their ISIS-related transactions.”
Id. The money transfers to defendant were
“disguised” to avoid detection. Id.
Similarly, the defendant attempted to conceal his identity to
protect himself from exposure to law enforcement.
Id. The defendant used devices and accounts with
“alias names and/or fake addresses”
(id.) to communicate “surreptitiously”
with members of the conspiracy. Id. at 11.
Stipulation states, in part, id. at 10:
The bulk of the monies were received [by defendant] through
transfers from an online financial account associated with
the UK Company, in some instances emanating from Bangladesh
where Individual #3 was located, into ELSHINAWY's online
financial account in the name of TheCheapMart, LLC, a
business name he had previously registered in Maryland. One
of the money transfers was received into an online financial
account associated with ELSHINAWY's religious wife. The
transfer was falsely disguised to appear as purchase of
printers rather than a cash transfer. The last money transfer
was sent to ELSHINAWY via wire from a location in Egypt in
the name of another member of the conspiracy.
the Stipulation recounts, id. at 10-11:
ELSHINAWY used various monikers to register business and
social media accounts, such as “mojoeusa, ”
“Mo Jo, ” “Black Eyes, ” and others,
in order to conceal his identity. He then used those
accounts, while in Maryland, to communicate with other
members of the conspiracy and facilitate its objectives. In
addition to the use of social media, ELSHINAWY and members of
the conspiracy utilized various other forms and methods of
communication, in some instances registering devices and
accounts under alias names and/or fake addresses, in order to
conceal from law enforcement their criminal association, the
substance of their communications, and their criminal
activities. ELSHINAWY himself created and/or used various of
these forms and methods to surreptitiously communicate with
members of the conspiracy in order to facilitate the transfer
of monies to him from ISIS operatives, to conceal his
communications and activities with those operatives, and to
provide those operatives with the ability to use and access
communication accounts at will.
addition, the defendant stipulated that he attempted to
recruit his brother, Ahmed Elshinawy, to join ISIS. ECF 120
at 11. Ahmed Elshinawy resides in Saudi Arabia. Id.
Among other things, the defendant told his brother that he
had “plans” in the United States, for which he
intended to remain in this country temporarily; he was
“taking steps” to avoid detection; and he
expressed his “desire” to “wage violent
Jihad and die as a martyr.” Id.
to the Stipulation, defendant was interviewed by agents of
the FBI in July 2015. At the time, defendant provided false
information as to the total sum of monies he had received
from ISIS operatives. Id. Moreover, he falsely
claimed that he took the money “to defraud ISIS of
funds.” Id. In addition, defendant
“mischaracterized the true nature and extent of his
association with and relationship to, ISIS operatives and the
support he had provided to ISIS.” Id.
after the first FBI interview of defendant, Elshinawy
“took steps to block and erase his communications over
social media with [Elkhodary], and exhorted his brother to do
the same with his own social media account.”
Id. Defendant “also directed his brother to
warn [Elkhodary] that he (ELSHINAWY) had been ‘revealed
and uncovered.'” Id.
a United States citizen, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
in 1985. ECF 138 at 33. He is one of five children born to
parents who are professionals with advanced degrees.
Id.; see also ECF 138-12 at 1-19 (sworn
statement of defendant's father, Yousef Elshinawy, M.D.);
ECF 138-12 at 30 (statement of defendant's mother, Fatma
Abdelaty, Ph.D.); ECF 138-8 (Aff. of defendant's sister,
Mona Elshinawy, Ph.D.). At the time of defendant's birth,
his father was engaged in medical training at the University
of Pittsburgh. ECF 138-12 at 8. It appears that the
defendant's parents are not United States citizens, and
they returned to Egypt when the defendant was three months
old. ECF 138-12 at 30. The defendant grew up primarily in
Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and attended college in Egypt. ECF
138 at 33.
2007, the defendant began to travel between Egypt and the
United States. He returned to the United States in 2007, but
went back to Egypt in 2008. ECF 138 at 33-34. Then, in 2010,
he again returned to the United States and married a woman
who converted to Islam. Id. at 34. Due to problems
with work and his marriage, defendant returned to Egypt in
2011. Id. However, the defendant again returned to
the United States in November 2012. Id. at 35.
According to the defendant, he was in “dire financial
straits” and faced debt that was
“overwhelming.” Id. By the fall of 2014,
claims defendant, his financial situation made him
“susceptible to offers of easy money and travel to
Syria from his childhood acquaintance, Tamer . . . .”
government vigorously disputes that defendant's conduct
was motivated by financial hardship. See ECF 145 at
25-26. It asserts, correctly, that a review of defendant'
finances “does not paint the picture of utter
desperation . . . .” Id. at 25.
Use of Social Media
not a case based on mere words. Nevertheless, the
defendant's use of social media was both extensive and
revealing. In particular, defendant's chats with his
brother, Ahmed Elshinawy, and his friend, Tamer Elkhodary,
Chats with Tamer Elkhodary
March 2014, defendant and Elkhodary had a chat via Facebook,
in which Elkhodary encouraged defendant to “do
jihad.” ECF 139-9 at 7. According to the records
obtained by the government, the two corresponded only
occasionally over the next several months. During an exchange
with Elkhodary on September 9, 2014, defendant said, ECF
139-9 at 12: “My heart is not able to accept what the
infidels do to Muslims.” Elkhodary responded,
id.: “Allah willing, they will all be defeated
and retreat, and we will behead . . . foreign tyrants . . .
.” Defendant signified his agreement when he answered:
“May God keep you safe.” ECF 139-9 at
early as October 2014, defendant expressed his support of
ISIS. In an exchange with Elkhodary on October 5, 2014,
defendant praised “the end of Israel” and the
“coming” of the Islamic Caliphate. Defendant also
said, id. at 14: “Allah willing, the Islamic
State is victorious.” The next day, October 6, 2014,
defendant asserted, id. at 17: “I now live
with the Islamic State as if I were over there.” A few
days later, on October 10, 2014, defendant told Elkhodary
that he “watch[ed] videos day and night in order to get
the news.” Id. at 20-21. Moreover, he told
Elkhodary that ISIS was becoming “more powerful,
” despite opposition from “60 Zio[nist]-Arab
states . . . .” Id. at 20. And, defendant
announced, id. at 21: “My heart is with the
Islamic State.” He asked Elkhodary, id.:
“Is this really the Caliphate [?]”, adding,
id. at 22: “I think about the matter day and
fall of 2014, defendant indicated that he wanted to move to
the Islamic State. On October 10, 2014, defendant told
Elkhodary, via social media: “My wife and I will come,
man. I want to live there, because the Islamic State is
coming with a promise from our God. So, if it is the Islamic
State, I just want to live there.” Id. at 25.
Elkhodary reminded defendant that Allah “disavowed
those who dwell among the infidels.” Id. After
defendant inquired several times if “Shari'ah [law
is] applied” in Rakka (id. at 25, 26, 27), he
asserted, id. at 27: “[T]he westerner
[i.e., defendant] will be one of the most fierce
mujhahidin if I am certain that this is the
truth.”Elkhodary told defendant to “come
to Turkey and, Allah willing, [he would] arrange
everything” for defendant. Id. at 29.
Elshinawy responded: “I am coming soon.”
Id. at 35.
then discussed with Elkhodary his plan to “save up for
the ticket [a]nd expenses.” Id. at 36. He
noted that he needed “a tight plan to get out.”
Id. Elkhodary said, id.: “If you need
money or anything, let me know.” Defendant said,
id. at 38: “I'm coming, Allah willing.
Hopefully, the Lord will forgive my sins and grant us the
rewards of jihad.” And, he admonished Elkhodary
“not [to] write anything on the Internet because it is
all monitored.” ECF 139-9 at 37.
addition, defendant voiced complaints to Elkhodary about the
United States. For example, defendant complained on October
10, 2014, that “surveillance [in the United States] is
horrible.” Id. at 26. Defendant also
complained that whenever he “come[s] to America”
he is “stopped and searched” because of his
“name and looks.” Id. at 33.
October 10, 2014, defendant discussed with Elkhodary
“the situation here, ” (i.e., the United
States), claiming: “People are scared . . . They are
now afraid of raising the banner of the State [i.e.,
ISIS] in America and the declaration of Shari'ah.”
Id. at 30-31. Elkhodary responded, id. at
31: “May God grant us victory.” And, defendant
told Elkhodary, id. at 32: “[W]e must have a
secret word in our talk for emergencies.”
early months of 2015, Elshinawy pledged allegiance to ISIS.
On February 17, 2015, Elshinawy told Elkhodary:
“Between you an[d] me I pledged allegiance to the
Amir.” ECF 139-9 at 46. Elkhodary responded,
id.: “Allah willing, you will benefit and be
beneficial.” Further, Elkhodary told defendant that he
(Elkhodary) had personally “pledged allegiance to him
[i.e., the Amir], hand in hand.” Id.
at 47. Defendant responded: “If you give [al-Baghdadi]
my regards and my allegiance [y]ou would have done me a
favor.” Id. at 56.
government claims, correctly, that the Amir is a reference to
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIS leader. See ECF 139-9
at 23. Indeed, in a chat between defendant and his brother on
March 11, 2015, defendant specifically told his brother that
Elkhodary had pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi. See
ECF 139-10 at 16.
February 17, 2015, defendant observed, id. at 49:
“Some of those who call themselves Muslims are allied
publicly with the Christians to kill Muslims.” He
added, id. at 52: “[M]y soul is there [w]ith
the mujahidin.” In the same exchange, defendant
proclaimed: “I am a soldier of the State
[i.e., ISIS], but temporarily away.”
Id. at 55. Elkhodary told defendant: “You are
at a vulnerable point; through you, brother, we can either be
defeated or victorious . . . you are now different than
before . . . and don't tell anyone what you have in mind
. . . .” ECF 139-9 at 68-69. Defendant responded:
“Of course not. It is a crime here. A very big one. If
I meet our Lord while being, at least, faithful to Muslims, I
may have hope for mercy.” Id. at 70.
entanglement with ISIS deepened. On March 2, 2015, Elkhodary
told defendant, “Hurry.” Id. at 74.
Defendant indicated that he “need[ed] time to save
money to manage [his travel] . . . .” Id. at
75. Elkhodary admonished defendant: “Do not talk
openly.” Id. at 78. During the chat, defendant
said, id. at 83: “The westerner is sick of
being in the West.”
Elkhodary instructed defendant to download and install
Telegram, an “app” that enables the use of
encrypted communications, and defendant agreed to do so.
Id. at 85-90.Elkhodary also told Elshinawy:
“I will have a brother call you now.”
Id. at 90. Elshinawy asked, “Trust
worthy?” Id. at 91. Elkhodary responded,
“I am with him.” Id. The defense
concedes that, after defendant activated the App, Elkhodary
“connected [the defendant] to an unidentified
individual in Syria.” ECF 138 at 9.
subsequently contacted Elkhodary on March 6, 2015, and told
him, “Allah willing, a huge blessing will
happen.” ECF 139-9 at 96. Elkhodary responded:
“Most importantly do not talk with anyone, not even
with me. May Allah protect you.” Id. at 97.
chat on March 9, 2015, Elshinawy told Elkhodary: “I am
getting things in order for myself. I will not come now. In a
bit.” Id. at 104. Several days later,
defendant wrote: “I need a favor from you. A small
message to deliver to our friend. I noticed that my phone is
being monitored. The camera opens on its own at weird times.
Tell our friend that I am preparing myself with the highest
security measures and will contact him soon, Allah
willing.” ECF 139-9 at 112-13. On March 13, 2015,
Elshinawy wrote to Elkhodary: “Done, all is
perfect.” ECF 139-9 at 113.
discussed, infra, defendant received his first
monetary transfer from ISIS operatives on March 23, 2015. ECF
139-6 at 8. It was in the approximate amount of $1, 500. As
noted in the Stipulation, the money was intended to fund a
April 2015, defendant's attack planning was underway. On
April 3, 2015, Elshinawy told Elkhodary, “Soon,
you'll hear good news, Allah willing.” ECF 139-9 at
123. Elkhodary told defendant to “Stay strong”
and Elshinawy replied, “I am . . . .”
Id. Defendant also said: “I have many goals[.]
But going slow for safety.” ECF 139-9 at
124. “Praise be to Allah, ”
responded Elkhodary, “You've always been a
‘gangsta.'” Id. at 125. Elshinawy
replied: “Exactly. I'll come over when I am done,
Allah willing.” Id. at 125-26. He added:
“I ask Allah, the Almighty, the Lord of the great
throne to grant us righteousness, steadfastness, and
faithfulness. . . . And this favor.” Id. at
128-29. He also told Elkhodary: “I will be indebted to
you for it, all my life . . . . How great it is when you show
your brother the way to paradise.” Id. at 129.
Towards the end of their chat, defendant referenced
“jihad” (id. at 133), and Elkhodary
advised Elshinawy: “Be harsh in the killing of
Allah's enemies.” Id. at 134. Elshinawy
responded, “Victory is patience for an hour[.] Allah
willing.” Id. at 135.
sought moral support for his attack planning in an exchange
with Elkhodary on April 6, 2015. Elkhodary asked defendant,
“How are you doing?” Id. at 137.
Elshinawy responded: “O' Lord. I am passing through
the hardest phase right now; Allah is the one who is sought
for help.” Id. at 139. Elkhodary advised,
“[F]aithfulness. May Allah make things easy for
you.” Id. “O' Lord, ” answered
Elshinawy, “[we ask for] faithfulness and renewed
commitment.” Id. at 140 (Bracket in original).
Ten days later, on April 16, 2015, ISIS affiliates sent
Elshinawy another $1, 000. See ECF 139-6 at 10.
be to Allah, I have found my dream project, ”
proclaimed defendant on April 21, 2015, referencing an attack
plan. ECF 139-9 at 165. He continued: “It was a source
of anxiety; life without Islam as the main drive for
life.” Id. Defendant also wrote, id.
at 166: “Allah willing, we will meet after I finish my
work here.” Id. at 166. In response, Elkhodary
wrote: “Know that Allah is with us and will grant us
victory. There is nothing holding us back from reaching
paradise except for them to kill us. Honesty, and renewed
commitment[.] The most important thing. Do you need
anything?” Id. at 168-69. Elshinawy replied,
“I need supplications. And renew my commitment, Allah
willing.” Id. at 170.
same chat, defendant asked Allah to “facilitate
things.” Id. at 171. “Hurry up, Shin,
” Elkhodary wrote. Id. at 172. “Soon,
” Elshinawy wrote back, “but you have to know
that from my end, I am not behind -- on anything, thanks be
to Allah[.] Just waiting on the . . . The other party.”
ECF 139-9 at 172-173. Later, defendant added, “Jihad
builds up the soul[.]” Id. at 180.
April 2015, defendant was consumed with his “dream
project.” On April 22, 2015, Elshinawy wrote in a chat
with Elkhodary: “By Allah, I am really eager to satisfy
Allah Almighty[.]” Id. at 190. Then, defendant
posed a question of significance, id. at 191:
“I wanted to ask you. Is making a small thing with a
silencer difficult or easy?” Id. at
191. Elkhodary responded, “Definitely,
there is something ready. It is much better to buy a slave
than raising one.” Elshinawy replied. “You are
right. I hope to find one. . . . By Allah, I really hope so,
brother[.] That's why I said that if I can not get one, I
will make one[.]” ECF 139-9 at 192. Elkhodary replied,
id. at 193: “May Allah make it easy for you
and for us.”
told Elkhodary, id. at 194: “Listen to the
lessons of Sheikh Al-'Adnani. Praise be to Allah. By
Allah, he says what exactly is on my mind.” Defendant
also said, id. at 195-96: “And may those
servants of their government, who watered down the religion,
as well as the rulers and those who are not associated with
the religion not harm you[.] Allah willing, the victory is
for us, and humiliation is for them.” Defendant added,
id. at 196: “I will completely dedicate my
time for that matter, and Allah willing, all will be
to note that Aaron Zelin, the government's expert in
terrorism and jihadi groups, submitted a report in which he
cited Abu Muhammed al-Adnani's call for ISIS supporters
to conduct attacks in their home countries as a major
contributor to the “huge spike in various types of
attacks.” ECF 145-4 at 3. At the sentencing hearing,
Zelin testified that al-Adnani had delivered a speech
exhorting ISIS supporters in western countries to
“conduct terrorist attacks in their own home
countries” rather than travel to the Middle East. ECF
190 at 95-96. Dr. Sageman largely agreed with Zelin's
assessment, and added that the attacks in western countries
were also “in retaliation [for] western bombings in
Syria.” Id. at 109-10.
April 25, 2015, Elkhodary told defendant to provide him with
a phone number to facilitate covert communications.
Id. at 199-204. Then, on April 26, 2015, defendant
said to Elkhodary, id. at 215: “[T]his matter
has become the most important thing in my life. I do what I
can to follow what I am told.” Elkhodary replied,
id.: “May Allah make your steps firm.”
He added, id. at 217: “The entire village is
waiting for you.” Defendant answered, id.:
“O God, make it easy.” Elkhodary instructed
defendant to “make sure to keep it secret.”
Id. at 218. And, he said, id.:
“Rejoice, if you fear Allah, He will be with you, and
He definitely will grant you victory as He promised.”
The defendant recited the ISIS mantra to Elkhodary on May 1,
2015, exhorting jihad. ECF 139-9 at 219.
chat on May 9, 2015, defendant told Elkhodary:
“Everyone is scared over here.” Id. at
222. Elkhodary answered: “May Allah increase their
fear.” Id. Defendant signified his agreement,
stating, id.: “Allah willing.”
exchange on May 25, 2015, Elkhodary told defendant: “Be
harsh in the killing of Allah's enemies.”
Id. at 234. Defendant responded, id.:
“May our Lord keep you safe and grant you the highest
level of paradise.” Then, each said,
and Elkhodary communicated for the last time on July 14,
2015, a few days before the FBI approached defendant on July
17, 2015. ECF 139-9 at 240. Thereafter, Elkhodary attempted
to contact defendant on July 18, 19, 25, and August 3, 2015,
without success. Id. at 241-46. For example, on July
19, 2015, Elkhodary wrote: “Where are you, Chief? Why
are you ignoring us? I want to check on you.” ECF 139-9
at 244. Defendant did not respond.
Chats with Ahmed Elshinawy
brother, Ahmed Elshinawy (“Ahmed”),
has been described as an Islamic scholar. ECF 223 at 5.
During the same general period in which defendant chatted
with Elkhodary, he also had many conversations with his
brother, also through social media. Ahmed seemed quite
skeptical if not resistant to defendant's views of ISIS,
and the two engaged in lengthy, intellectual discussions
about their respective ideologies with regard to Islam.
See, e.g., ECF 139-10 at 12, 28, 49, 414.
Defendant sought to persuade his brother as to his views,
without success. See, e.g., ECF 139-10 at
discussion between defendant and Ahmed on March 11, 2015,
defendant said: “My life is for Allah. If I die for the
sake of Allah, then there is no problem.” ECF 139-10 at
25. Defendant also informed Ahmed that he was “ready to
pledge allegiance [to ISIS] soon[.]” Id. at
13. He explained: “This Emir is busy. I will do it
soon.” Id. at 16. And, he told his brother:
“Tamer has pledged the allegiance with Abu Bakr Al
Baghdadi personally.” Id. Moreover, defendant
disclosed that although Elkhodary was his “first
connection, ” he now had his own “personal
connection[.]” Id. at 18. Notably, defendant
also stated that he had “become one of them[.]”
Id. at 21.
April 25, 2015, defendant complained that the police took his
car because he did not have certain “papers” (ECF
139-10 at 79) and he would “have to pay a lot of money
to get it back.” Id. at 80. Then, he went on
to express his desire “to go to Jihad.”
Id. He added, id.: “I do not have
dreams or aspirations in this world except the Jihad. . . . I
want just to go to Jihad and be with the Islamic
State.” Ahmed responded: “[W]e are not created
for the Jihad only” (id. at 81), and defendant
answered, id.: “Yes, of course, but I mean
this is my project. Man, stop discouraging.”
the chat, defendant also said, id. at 83: “Now
I have a bigger project which will be my goal.” He
added, id. at 88: “I believe that today's
best Jihad is the Jihad of war.” And, defendant said:
“I am working on a project but it needs a lot of time
and effort.” Id. at 98. When Ahmed asked if he
could know of the project (id. at 99), defendant
responded, id. at 100: “No. I cannot tell you
here.” But, he added that perhaps he could reveal it
“on another place on the Internet.” Id.
Nevertheless, defendant claimed it was “a great
discussion on April 27, 2015, defendant told his brother that
he had “already pledged allegiance” to ISIS. ECF
139-10 at 122. When Ahmed inquired how defendant felt after
doing so, defendant responded, id.: “Finally,
I am a Muslim with dignity and pride unlike the Jews and
Christians . . . . I belong to a State and people who apply
Shari'ah and the Islamic Caliphate.” Defendant
added that “true life is . . . waiting for death for
the sake of Allah.” Id. at 123. Defendant also
disclosed to his brother that he had “received a lot of
money.” Id. at 125. Moreover, he said,
id. at ...