Trial for 2 Orange County men suspected of supporting ISIS begins

Thursday, June 9, 2016
Trial for 2 Orange County men suspected of supporting ISIS begins
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The trial for two Orange County men accused by officials of supporting the Islamic State got underway.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- The trial for two Orange County men accused of providing support to ISIS got underway on Wednesday.

Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi, both of Anaheim, kept their heads down as a federal prosecutor spelled out the government's case against them.

In her opening statement, the prosecutor went over things included in the court affidavit, which pointed to the men's social media accounts where they allegedly voice support for the Islamic State.

Agents accused Badawi of using money from a federal Pell grant to buy a plane ticket for Nader Elhuzayel to fly to Tel Aviv.

Agents arrested Nader Elhuzayel at Los Angeles International Airport in May of 2015.

MORE: 2 OC men arrested by Joint Terrorism Task Force for allegedly trying to join ISIS

Nader Elhuzayel's parents defended their son the day of his arrest, after agents served a search warrant at the family's room at the Crystal Inn.

"He has no intention whatsoever for any terrorism whatsoever, he's very innocent, nice child," Falak Elhuzayel, Nader Elhuzayel's mother said.

On Wednesday, his attorney told the jury his client was simply "cheerleading" for the Islamic State, and not doing anything illegal.

He also said Nader Elhuzayel was going to Tel Aviv to marry a woman he met online, despite what the court document alleged.

MORE: Judge orders OC man indicted for supporting ISIS to eat or be force fed

In an interview after Badawi's appearance in May, his attorney separated her client from Nader Elhuzayel.

"At this point, it's up to the government to tie him to that. And from what I've seen today, there's not enough to establish that," Kate Corrigan, Badawi's attorney said.

Her opening statement on Wednesday reinforced that point as she told jurors Nader Elhuzayel lied to Badawi to get the money for a plane ticket.

She also called the co-defendant a "lone wolf" and said her client was part of a "misguided friendship."

The trial continues with testimony as several federal agents were scheduled to take the stand.