Syed Hashmi pled guilty to once count of conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization today. According to the NYT:
Judge Loretta A. Preska asked whether he was pleading “because you are in fact guilty?”
“Alhamdulillah,” he said, or Praise be to God, and then added, “Yes.”
He acknowledged, under questioning by Mr. Ruhnke, that in 2004, while he was a graduate student in London, he knew that a man staying with him was planning to deliver outdoor gear like ponchos, sleeping bags and waterproof socks to Al Qaeda for use in Afghanistan.
Mr. Ruhnke asked whether Mr. Hashmi knew that the United States considered Al Qaeda a terrorist organization.
“Yes, I did,” Mr. Hashmi said.
He also acknowledged lending the man $300 to buy a plane ticket to carry the gear to South Waziristan, an area of western Pakistan, for use by Al Qaeda.
Judge Preska asked, “Did you understand, Mr. Hashmi, that those actions were unlawful?”
“Yes,” he replied.
It is likely that Hashmi, already imprisoned for 3 years (in 23 hour a day lockdown) while awaiting trial, will receive a 15 year sentence. Prior to pleading guilty he faced up to 70 years in prison. With any luck, he will be released in his early 40s. The crime he was convicted of, “conspiracy to provide material support,” is defined, according to 18 USC 2339A, as
(1) the term “material support or resources” means any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (1 or more individuals who may be or include oneself), and transportation, except medicine or religious materials;
Loaning $300 to someone who plans to take socks to Al Qaeda and allowing that person to sleep on your couch will get you 15 years.