Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen clearly said "Yes" when the federal court judge asked him if he understood the charges against him.
The 24-year-old, a U.S. citizen, was indicted on charges of attempting to provide support to al Qaeda and lying on a U.S. passport application, including allegedly lying about his name, date of birth and his parents names.
The indictment states Nguyen is also known as Hasan Abu Omar Ghannoum. Authorities do not provide exact details, except to say he lied to facilitate an act of international terrorism.
According to the FBI, the Garden Grove resident was arrested Friday morning at a bus station in Santa Ana on his way to Mexico. Investigators say they believe he was traveling alone and are not aware of any continuing threat to the public.
In court, Nguyen entered a not guilty plea. The judge ordered he remain in custody on the grounds of danger and a flight risk.
The defendant's parents, brother and sister came to court and sat at one end and stared at him, and he looked at them, but they did not speak. His mother said the allegations are a complete surprise. His brother said the defendant converted to Islam about one year ago.
Nguyen is expected back in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Oct. 18.