Ohio man accused of plotting government attack pleads not guilty

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 22, 2015 4:39 PM

By Ginny McCabe

CINCINNATI (Reuters) - An Ohio man accused of plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol with guns and bombs pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and other charges in federal court on Thursday.

Christopher Cornell, 20, of Cincinnati, is being held without bail after prosecutors said he posed a threat to national security.

The charges against Cornell include attempted murder of government officials, possession of a firearm to commit a crime and solicitation to commit a violent crime.

Cornell, in gray prison garb, answered "yes" in a soft voice to U.S. Magistrate Stephanie Bowman's questions about whether he understood the charges.

Bowman on Thursday denied Cornell's request, made through his attorney, that he be addressed by his Muslim name, Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah.

Cornell was arrested on Jan. 14, after he researched the construction of pipe bombs, purchased a semi-automatic rifle and 600 rounds of ammunition and made plans to travel to Washington to carry out the plot, according to testimony from an FBI informant.

Cornell began plotting the attack in August, according to the indictment which was filed on Wednesday.

The arrest came after Cornell, using the name Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, posted on Twitter that he supported the Islamic State, a militant group which has seized parts of Syria and Iraq.

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According to court documents, Cornell met with an FBI informant to discuss his plans, and indicated to the informant that he considered the members of Congress as enemies and that he intended to conduct an attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

No future court date has been set.

(Reporting by Ginny McCabe; Editing by Mary Wisniewski)