Aurora teen, Abdella Tounisi, talking plea deal with federal prosecutors

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A suburban Chicago teenager is in early discussions with federal prosecutors to plead guilty in a terrorism case, his attorney suggested on Thursday.

Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, from Aurora, was 18 years old when federal agents arrested him last April on charges that he sought to join an al-Qaida-linked militant group fighting Bashar Assad's regime in Syria.

Tounisi's attorney Molly Armor said in court Thursday that they are engaged in preliminary plea negotiations with the government. Armor asked for a court hearing in two months and a March 25 date was set.

Authorities arrested Tounisi at O'Hare International Airport as he allegedly prepared for the first leg of a trip to join Jabhat al-Nusrah.

Tounisi at that time pleaded not guilty to attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and lying to federal authorities.

If convicted, he would face a maximum 23-year prison term.

Federal prosecutors on Thursday did not comment in or out of court on the defendant's apparent plea bargain consideration.

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