PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty Tuesday to using the Internet to promote terror attacks against American military and civilian targets in posts he made on a Muslim jihadist Web forum he moderated.
Emerson Begolly, 22, also pleaded guilty to having a loaded pistol when, according to FBI agents, he bit the two men as they tried to question him.
He faces a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison on the weapons charge and up to 10 years on the one count of solicitation to commit a crime of violence. The weapons charge carries a maximum of life in prison, though it's extremely unusual for a defendant to plead guilty if such a sentence is on the table.
A recommended sentence has been agreed upon, but it remains under seal, according to prosecutors and Begolly's federal public defender.
Senior U.S. District Judge Maurice Cohill Jr. ordered Begolly to remain jailed until he is sentenced Nov. 29.
Wearing maroon scrubs from the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh, where Begolly told the judge he's being treated by a psychiatrist, the lanky, soft-spoken man nonetheless told the judge he entered the pleas, "Because I am guilty," without further explanation.
Begolly was indicted by a federal grand jury in Virginia last month on charges he encouraged terror attacks on public buildings, transportation systems, cellphone towers, water plants, synagogues, Jewish schools and other targets in the U.S. on posts to the Ansar al-Mujahideen English Forum.
The Muslim man also posted comments praising a series of overnight shootings targeting the Pentagon, the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va., and other government-related buildings in October saying, "God willing someone had acted on his solicitations," Assistant U.S. Attorney James Kitchen told the judge.