Army vet who fought in Syria gets plea deal

AP News
Posted: Sep 20, 2013 12:47 PM

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — An Army veteran accused of fighting alongside an al-Qaida-affiliated group of Syrian rebels is out of jail following a secret plea deal.

Thirty-one-year-old Eric Harroun of Phoenix had been charged with providing material support to a terrorist group and faced up to life in prison.

But under a deal entered in federal court in Alexandria, Harroun pleaded guilty to an obscure law regulating munition exports. He was sentenced to time served. The plea agreement itself remains sealed, though court records show it was entered Thursday.

Harroun had been jailed since March.

Prosecutors first accused Harroun of fighting alongside the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra, one of many Syrian rebel groups seeking to topple President Bashar Assad. But defense lawyers argued there was confusion about exactly which rebel group Harroun had joined.