CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago terrorism case marked by one decade of peculiar twists and bizarre turns has taken the oddest direction yet.
Adel Daoud was a Hillside teenager who talked about "lizard people," "cosmic aliens," the Illuminati and he called his judge "a reptilian overlord." Now, Daoud is trying to turn away from a guilty plea deal that many thought was his best way out of a 2012 terrorism case that could have landed him in prison for decades.
Adel Daoud's mental competency has been a legal question since early in the case. Daoud was 17 years old when he popped onto FBI radar as a potential terror threat. The west suburban teen was taken down in a sting operation when he tried to detonate what he thought was a 1,000 pound bomb outside a Loop tavern.
His attorney Thomas Durkin managed to obtain court approval for what is known as an "Alford Plea," a rare legal tactic in which Daoud was allowed to sidestep federal trial and make no admission of guilt while still admitting the government had the goods on him.
Now, several years into a 16-year sentence, a new attorney has filed a motion on his behalf asking that the plea deal be thrown out and a trial held.
The odds of that happening are slim according to a former federal prosecutor in Chicago and ABC7 legal analyst Gil Soffer.
"One, here's a defendant who has already been serving many years in jail. Second, he was represented by very competent counsel years ago when he was sentenced to strike a good deal for him. Third, to withdraw a plea now would cause prejudice arguably, to the government, if the conclusion of it is to retry him now that years have passed and memories have faded. So the odds are stacked against that," Soffer said.
Soffer says that an attorney only has to represent their client's current best interest and that Daoud's delusional thoughts over the years-including some in phone calls with the I-Team alleging that the government is run by lizard people-would have no bearing on asking that a plea deal be tossed.
"It may be particularly be the case here that if this defendant were to go to trial, he could look at a much worse outcome," said Soffer.
Daoud is being held in the MCC in downtown Chicago and is scheduled to be released in 2026. His attorney did not return a I-Team request for comment.
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