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(AP) — A Hawaii-based Army soldier accused of attempting to support the Islamic State group will plead guilty, one of his lawyers told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang has agreed to plead guilty, but Alexander Silvert, an assistant federal defender representing him, won’t say what charges he’ll be pleading to.
“We’ve agreed on a sentence,” Silvert said, declining to elaborate. He referred further questions to Kang’s other attorney, Birney Bervar, who couldn’t immediately be reached.
Court documents allege Kang provided classified military information to undercover agents whom he believed were part of the Islamic State group.
This image taken from FBI video and provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Hawaii shows Army Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang holds an Islamic State group flag after allegedly pledging allegiance to the group at a house in Honolulu in July 2017.
Kang is scheduled to withdraw his not guilty plea Thursday, court records show. The hearing was moved from the afternoon to the morning because of concerns about a hurricane headed for Hawaii, Silvert said.
A plea agreement hasn’t been filed in court yet.
A confidential informant told authorities Kang watched videos depicting beheadings and other violence in his room for hours every day, according to court documents.
Kang told the informant that if he became an Islamic State member, he would be a suicide bomber and attack Schofield Barracks, a sprawling Army base outside Honolulu, according to an affidavit filed in court.
Kang began researching the Muslim religion in 2014, couldn’t wait to move to the Middle East to “join the cause” and was “only in the military for a paycheck,” the informant said, according to the affidavit.
When Kang met with the undercover agents at a home in Honolulu, he pledged allegiance to the group and kissed an Islamic State flag, according to court documents.
Kang may suffer from service-related mental health issues that the government was aware of but neglected to treat, Bervar has said previously.
Kang has been detained without bail since his arrest last year. He is still in the Army, but his duty status is “confined,” said Lt. Col. Curt Kellogg, with the 25th Infantry Division.
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