Judge rules FOX19 NOW can air Cornell interview

Published: Mar. 6, 2015 at 3:52 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2015 at 10:04 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A federal judge ruled Friday that FOX19 NOW can air an interview with the Green Township terror suspect who allegedly plotted to attack the U.S. Capitol. Christopher Cornell spoke with FOX19 NOW's Tricia Macke, opening up about his plans and how he came to identify with the Islamic State.

Cornell, 20, spoke by phone from his Boone County jail cell on Thursday, talking about his Muslim beliefs and his role in the Islamic State, as well as the alleged plot to bomb the U.S. Capitol. Cornell said if he had a chance, he would have followed through with his plot to bomb the Capitol and Israeli embassy, and would have put a gun to President Barack Obama's head.

Christopher Cornell's defense attorneys did not want the public to hear the hour-long interview and made a move Thursday night to block the story in a late night emergency hearing at the federal courthouse. The judge continued the hearing until Friday morning to hear further testimony from witnesses, included Macke.

Federal judge Sandra Beckwith heard the case where Cornell's attorney, Richard Smith-Monahan, argued that Cornell could not receive a fair trial in Cincinnati if the interview was heard by the public. However, Beckwith ruled that the original Jan. 16 order that barred contact with Cornell was "ambiguous" and stopping Cornell from talking to the media would be unconstitutional.

Judge Beckwith said that Cornell has a right to remain silent, but he also has a right to free speech.

Cornell was indicted on three felony counts, including attempted murder of government employees and officials, solicitation to commit a crime of violence and possession of a firearm in furtherance of an attempted crime of violence. Cornell plead not guilty on Jan. 21. He is expected back in court on those charges in April.

On Jan. 14 Cornell was arrested at a Colerain Township gun shop after allegedly plotting with a FBI informant to place pipe bombs at the Capitol and shoot employees inside the federal building.


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