Green Township terror plot suspect changes plea to guilty
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19/AP) - The Green Township man accused of plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol could spend up to 40 years in prison after changing his plea at a federal court hearing Monday.
Christopher Cornell, 22, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his January 2015 arrest. He previously faced a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.
The change-of-plea applied to three of the felony charges:
Count 1: Attempted murder of a government employee or official.
Count 3: Possession of a firearm
Count 4: Attempt to provide support to a foreign terrorist association
Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 31.
Cornell, who has been housed in the Boone County jail, appeared in court wearing a striped jumpsuit. Witnesses said his mother and father were both crying during the hearing.
Cornell admitted that he conducted online research of weapons, the construction of bombs, the U.S. Capitol and other potential targets in the Washington, D.C., area., according to the plea agreement. He intended to attack the Capitol during President Obama's 2015 State of the Union address, the judge said in court.
He was arrested outside a gun shop after buying firearms and 600 rounds of ammunition. Two months after his arrest, Cornell detailed his plot in a phone call from his jail cell.
"I would have released more bullets on the Senate and House of Representative members and I would have attacked the Israeli Embassy and various other buildings," Cornell said when he called the FOX19 NOW newsroom.
The Oak Hills High School grad is accused of plotting with an FBI informant to plan an attack in Washington, D.C. that included planting pipe bombs around the U.S. Capitol and the Israeli embassy with the intention of then shooting people as they ran from the buildings to escape the bombs.
In April, the doctor who analyzed Cornell said that month was the first time Cornell referred to himself as "Chris" instead of "Raheel." He also said that Cornell created the "Raheel" alter ego to feel important and feel like he was making a difference.
His father has said he was misled and coerced by "a snitch."
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