Cousins plead guilty to terrorism charges

January 16, 2009 8:43:27 AM PST
A pair of Chicago men identified by the ABC 7 I-Team as "the Radical Cousins" pleaded guilty on Thursday to federal terrorism charges. Investigative reporter Chuck Goudie broke the story of the accused terrorist cousins last September.

At that time, when we last saw 28-year-old Khaleel Ahmed and his 29-year-old cousin Zubair, both men claimed to be innocent of any terrorist connections and promised to fight the federal charges against them.

That was four months ago. On Thursday, they changed their minds and pleaded guilty.

What Zubair Ahmed told the I-Team last fall on the North Side, changed Thursday in federal court in Toledo, Ohio.

"I plead not guilty," said Ahmed told ABC7 last fall..

Ahmed and his so-called "radical" cousin Khaleel admitted that they had plotted to maim or murder American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They had been scheduled to go on trial next month in Ohio, where the plot was hatched.

Federal subpoenas the ABC7 I-Team obtained revealed that authorities were gathering telephone records and bank files as well as travel receipts for the cousins' trips to the Middle East since 2004.

The terror cell leader was former hickory hills resident Marwan el Hindi, among those already convicted last June on terrorism charges.

Prosecutors say el Hindi intended to use this Jihadist video to train the radical cousins on how to build suicide bomb vests, how to lace the devices with steel pellets; how to wear it and what would happen to a mannequin when one of the bombs blew up.

Considering that the men have pleaded guilty to terrorism charges, planned to kill members of U.S. military and considering that they each face years in prison, federal prosecutors wanted them locked up until sentencing.

But U.S. District Judge James Carr on Thursday let the radical cousins free on bond and a date hasn't even been set for sentencing. They are to return to Chicago until sentencing.