Teen jokes while pleading not guilty in Chicago car-bomb plot

FBI

A 19-year-old high school graduate accused of plotting to bomb a Loop bar joked in court today when he was asked about the sentence is facing – life imprisonment.

During his arraignment before U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman, Adel Daoud, a U.S. citizen who resided in Hillside with his family, was asked a series of routine questions, including whether he understood he faced a up to life in prison.

Daoud responded by asking the judge whether it could go higher than that.

His attorney, Thomas Anthony Durkin, remarked after court that his client’s “joke” seemed to reflect his age and understanding of what’s happening to him.

“I think he said something like there can’t be any more than that,” said Durkin, explaining the remark. “ … I don’t think he believes this is happening to him.  He’s a young kid.”

Throughout the half-hour hearing, Daoud was smiling and appeared relaxed, often fidgeting and rocking lightly from leg to leg, as he has done before in court.

He waved to his parents, who sat in the front row, before formally entering his plea of not guilty to charges filed against him last month of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to damage and destroy a building by means of an explosive.
 
During the judge’s questioning, Daoud also appeared to laugh a bit when he was asked if he was under the care of a psychiatrist.

“I don’t think so, no,” he said.

Federal authorities charge that Daoud spent months researching and posting about the violent world of jihad and how he was bent on killing Americans. The native Chicagoan ultimately plotted to car bomb the Cactus Bar & Grill at 404 S. Wells St., but the FBI was onto him months earlier and secretly recorded his every step, authorities said.
 
Last month Daoud allegedly stood in a Loop alley, punching the trigger of the fake bomb before agents swooped in to arrest him.

asweeney@tribune.com

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