Edward ‘Abdul Wali’ Schimenti and accomplice Joseph Jones lost fighting terrorism charges, instead of pleading guilty as do most accused Chicago-area terrorists. YouTube Tips ⓘ
Edward Schimenti, age 39, of Zion, Illinois was sentenced Friday, April 9, 2021 to more than 13 years in federal prison for conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham, a foreign terrorist organization also known as ISIS.
U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood imposed the 162-month sentence on Edward Schimenti of Zion, after a jury in 2019 convicted Schimenti on one count of conspiring to provide material support and resources to ISIS, and one count of making false statements to the FBI.
A co-defendant, Joseph D. Jones, 39, of Zion, Illinois, was also convicted of the conspiracy charge, and in March 2021 Judge Wood sentenced Jones to 12 years in federal prison. Joseph D. Jones, also known as Yusuf Abdulhaqq, 35, and Edward Schimenti, also known as Abdul Wali, 35, were both arrested in April 2017.
“I’m not a terrorist.
I’m just a big teddy bear”
— Edward ‘Abdul Wali’ Schimenti, staring down the judge on sentencing day
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. The Zion, Ill., Police Department provided valuable assistance. The case was investigated by the Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is comprised of numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Barry Jonas and David Rojas of the Northern District of Illinois, and Trial Attorney Alexandra S. Hughes of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
Evidence at trial revealed that Schimenti advocated on social media for violent extremism in support of the terrorist group, including throwing gay people off of the top of Willis Tower — 108 stories. Schimenti and Jones also discussed a plot to attack the U.S. sailors graduation center at Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois north of Chicago. Schimenti and Jones shared photographs of themselves holding the ISIS flag at Illinois Beach State Park, and spoke of hoping to see the ISIS flag on top of the White House.
In 2015, Schimenti began meeting with undercover FBI employees and individuals who, unbeknownst to Schimenti, were cooperating with law enforcement. During the meetings, Schimenti discussed his devotion to ISIS and his commitment to ISIS principles.
Prosecutors said Jones and Schimenti met with two undercover government informants, “Omar” and “Bilal”, on December 29, 2015. When asked by Bilal about whether they had pledged allegiance to ISIS, Schimenti became suspicious and abruptly left the meeting.
In November 2016, the FBI sent a confidential informant to get a job with Schimenti’s employer. After being hired, the informant began socializing with Schimenti after work, and said he had a brother in the Islamic State who he hoped to join in Syria.
Schimenti helped the informant get into fighting shape at a gym, prosecutors said, and Schimenti allegedly said he hoped to be the one to “cut the neck” of non-believers.
In 2017, Schimenti furnished cell phones to one of the cooperating individuals, believing the phones would be used to detonate explosive devices in ISIS attacks overseas. On April 7, 2017, Schimenti drove with the cooperating individual to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, with the understanding that the cooperating individual would be traveling to Syria to fight with ISIS. Schimenti allegedly told informant to “drench that land with they, they blood” before dropping the informant off at O’Hare.
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Zion, Illinois, incorporated in 1902 as Zion City, was named after the mountain where Jerusalem was built.