- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) - A federal judge on Tuesday postponed the trial of a man accused of plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol, with months of evidence-gathering expected in a case involving classified information.

U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith scrubbed a March 2 trial date for Christopher Lee Cornell.

Beckwith met with attorneys in a pretrial conference requested by prosecutors about handling classified information in the case. They cited a federal law that sets out steps to balance a suspect’s right to obtain evidence for his defense with restrictions on disclosure of material linked to national security interests.

The 20-year-old Cornell, of suburban Cincinnati, has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of U.S. officials and employees and two other counts.

The judge scheduled a telephone status conference for April 27. A court entry indicated about four months was set aside for gathering pretrial evidence.

Cornell wanted to “wage jihad’ by attacking the Capitol with pipe bombs and shooting government officials and employees, the FBI has alleged in court documents.

His father has said Cornell was coerced by a “snitch” trying to improve his own legal situation.

Charges of attempted murder of U.S. officials and employees and solicitation to commit a crime of violence carry potential 20-year prison sentences with convictions. Cornell also faces a firearms-related charge that carries a mandatory minimum of five years to a maximum of life in prison.

Cornell, who uses the Muslim name of Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, has been held without bond since his Jan. 14 arrest outside a gun shop near his home west of Cincinnati.

The FBI has said Cornell sent messages on social media and posted video in support of Islamic State militants and violent attacks by others.

Tim Mangan, assistant U.S. attorney in Cincinnati, is being joined in prosecuting the case by Michael Dittoe, a veteran attorney in the Justice Department’s National Security Division Counterterrorism Section.

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Contact the reporter at http://www.twitter.com/dansewell

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