U.S. Department of Justice
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January 21, 2015

Cincinnati-Area Man Indicted in Plot to Attack U.S. Government Officers

WASHINGTON—Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart for the Southern District of Ohio and Acting Special Agent in Charge John A. Barrios of the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Division announced that a federal grand jury has charged Christopher Lee Cornell, 20, of Green Township, Ohio, with attempting to kill officers and employees of the United States, solicitation to commit a crime of violence and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in an indictment returned in Cincinnati. Cornell was charged for his alleged plot to attack the U.S. Capitol and kill government officials.

The indictment alleges that from August 2014 through January 2015, Cornell plotted an attack on the U.S. Capitol that would have killed officers and employees of the United States during their official duties. During that same time, the defendant allegedly attempted to persuade another to join him in his planned act of violence. Cornell also allegedly possessed two semi-automatic rifles and approximately 600 rounds of ammunition.

Attempted murder of government employees and officials is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Solicitation to commit an attempted murder is a crime punishable by 20 years in prison. Possession of a firearm in furtherance of an attempted crime of violence is a crime punishable by a mandatory sentence of five years in prison.

Cornell was arrested on Jan. 14, 2015, by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The JTTF is made up of officers and agents from the Cincinnati Police Department, Colerain Police Department, Dayton Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, United States Secret Service, West Chester Police Department and Xenia Police Department.

Cornell is scheduled for an arraignment on the charges on Jan. 22, 2015, at 1:30 p.m., before Magistrate Judge Stephanie Bowman.

Assistant Attorney General Carlin and U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the investigation of this case by the JTTF. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Mangan and Michael Dittoe of the Justice Department National Security Division Counterterrorism Section.

An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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