Terrorism suspect wants to plead guilty, maintain innocence

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Adel Daoud | U.S. Marshal’s office photo via AP

U.S. Marshal’s office

Six years after the feds say he tried to blow up a downtown Chicago bar, a suburban terrorism suspect apparently wants to resolve his case without a trial.

Adel Daoud, 25, has languished in federal custody since the age of 18. Though he had been found not mentally fit for trial in August 2016 after rambling about reptilian overlords, a judge said early this year his competency had been restored.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys appeared finally ready to take him to trial Nov. 26. Now, Daoud’s lawyers have asked U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman to let Daoud enter a specialized guilty plea, according to a court filing Wednesday. Known as an Alford plea, it would also let Daoud maintain his innocence.

Joseph Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said that the office will be filing an objection to Daoud’s motion.

Daoud’s lawyers also said he could mount a credible defense — “particularly with respect to the entrapment defense concerning the charges involving the FBI’s creation of the fake bomb ostensibly capable of destroying a large portion of a downtown city-block.”

Still, they suspect biases about Daoud’s Islamic faith could lead to a guilty verdict.

Meanwhile, one additional barrier to Daoud’s plea remains. Daoud faces separate charges, before another judge, accusing him of assaulting and trying to murder another inmate at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in May 2015. A third set of charges says he plotted the murder of a federal agent. Daoud wants to deal with all three in a single hearing.

Lawyers are expected back in Coleman’s courtroom Friday.

Daoud’s legal odyssey began when he allegedly placed what he thought was a car bomb near a downtown Chicago bar in September 2012 and said a prayer before pushing the detonator. He was then placed under arrest.

The inert device had been given to him by an undercover federal agent.

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