California man gets 30 years for trying to join terror group

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California man convicted of trying to become a fighter for the Islamic State terrorist group was sentenced Monday to 30 years prison.

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter gave the sentence Monday to 25-year-old Nader Elhuzayel of Anaheim.

Carter noted that Elhuzayel has shown no regret for his actions and that his repeated mention of martyrdom in the past makes him "especially dangerous."

"There's no remorse, no repudiation of ISIL, only death and destruction," Carter said.

In June a jury convicted Elhuzayel and co-defendant Muhanad Badawi of conspiracy to aid a foreign terrorist organization after a two-week trial.

Badawi, whose hunger strike and court-ordered force feeding became a side story in the run-up to trial, will be sentenced in October and could get up to 35 years in prison.

Federal authorities say the two men talked of becoming martyrs and last year concocted a scheme for Elhuzayel to reach Syria.

Prosecutors say Badawi used money from a college grant to help Elhuzayel buy a plane ticket to the Middle East. They also say Elhuzayel got money by depositing stolen checks in his accounts.

Elhuzayel was also convicted of 26 counts of bank fraud.

In addition to the 30 years in prison he'll have to be on supervised release for life if he ever gets out on parole.

Attorneys for both men contended that their comments were offensive but not criminal.

Badawi's attorney, Kate Corrigan, had argued that he never actually intended to fight for the Islamic State but "was a lot of talk and absolutely no action."