-- The 23-year old Ohio man charged with training with a terrorist group in Syria -- then returning to the U.S. to allegedly carry out an attack here -- has pleaded not guilty today in federal court.
Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, 23, of Columbus, “is certainly scared,” according to his lawyer, Sam Shamansky.
“The charges are serious, and the stakes are high,” Shamansky told reporters at a news conference after his client entered his not guilty pleas.
Throughout the hearing, Mohamud was cuffed and legs shackled.
He said that Mohamud is "in many ways, he is a normal young man,” adding that his client has “zero” record of crime or violence."
Shamansky added that Mohamud’s family had fled from the civil war in Somalia, and was trying to make a new life in America.
Mohamud’s brother, he conceded, had traveled to Syria and been killed fighting on behalf of the terror group al-Nusra in 2014.
Shamansky said the government indictment included “salacious” allegations designed to “scare people.”
But the U.S. Attorney reiterated the government’s allegation that Mohamud had planned to “kill Americans -- military, police, anyone in uniform.”
Mohamud was initially arrested in February on state charges. A federal grand jury had indicted him for attempting to provide and providing material support to terrorists, one count of attempting to provide and providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, and one count of making false statements to the FBI.
He pleaded not guilty to all three counts and waived a bond hearing that will keep him in jail until trial, which is set for June 22.