Ex-Illinois National Guard soldier sentenced to 30 years in terror case

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Hasan Edmonds is a former Illnois National guardsman. His cousin is Jonas Edmonds, of Aurora. (WLS)

A Chicago federal judge sentenced a former Illinois National Guard specialist to 30 years in prison for plotting to carry out an ISIS-inspired attack at a Joliet armory.

Hasan Edmonds was sentenced on Tuesday weeks after prosecutors requested a 30-year sentence, saying in a filing that "betraying one's country while in its service is a particularly grave crime."

His cousin, Jonas Edmonds, was also sentenced Tuesday to 21 years, which is what prosecutors had also asked the judge for.

Both American-born cousins from Aurora had pleaded guilty to the plot to kill as many as 150 people in an attack on the Joliet military facility.

Both men have admitted wrongdoing, but said they never had any intention of carrying out the attack.

Before the judge handed down his 21-year sentence, Jonas Edmonds told the court, "I made bad decisions... I'm clearly not that person they were trying to make me into."
Their attorneys downplayed their seriousness, saying that they got caught up in the radical rhetoric of ISIS. The defense said the cousins never took the final steps to carry out the attack.

"There are a great deal of things that didn't happen," said Jim Graham, attorney for Jonas Edmonds. "They didn't have any guns. There was no date that was planned. There was nobody else that was in Chicago."

The Edmonds cousins were arrested in March 2015 at Midway Airport after Jonas Edmonds had dropped off his cousin for what prosecutors said was a planned trip to the Middle East to join ISIS. They were caught after Hasan Edmonds had several online exchanges with an undercover FBI agent who posed as an Islamic State fighter. Jonas Edmonds went to Hasan Edmonds' home and collected several National Guard uniforms that he planned to wear as a disguise during an attack at the Joliet armory, about 60 miles southwest of Chicago.

During this time, Hasan Edmondson was a member of the Illinois National Guard.

On Tuesday, his former sergeant spoke to him directly in court, calling him a once-promising solider who fell for the propaganda of ISIS.
"He was a soldier in our unit and you wouldn't expect anything like that from anyone in your unit," Sherman said.

Kenny Edmonds, Hasan Edmond's father, spoke to the media Tuesday evening and said that he is very disappointed in the sentence. He said his son is a victim of entrapment by the government.

"My whole family was deeply hurt, devastated, humiliated and embarrassed by this whole thing," Kenny Edmonds said.

Hasan Edmonds had an opportunity to speak to the judge, but opted not to. Instead he submitted a letter that said he has changed and had gotten caught up in a mixture of confusion, idealism and naiveté.
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