Mohammed Hamza Khan appeared in federal court for less than five minutes Wednesday, but one thing became clear during his short hearing – the amount of time he will ultimately spend in prison hinges largely on how much information he provides to the government on the terrorist group ISIS.
It has been two months since 20-year-old Khan took a plea deal, which requires him to cooperate with the federal government. The Bolingbrook man was arrested last October at O’Hare International Airport while trying to travel with his siblings to Syria to join ISIS.
Khan, who was 19 at the time, was indicted on terrorism charges in January and pleaded not guilty shortly after. In October, he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty as part of the plea agreement.
In a short hearing Wednesday, prosecutors made clear they are still trying to evaluate how much insight and assistance Khan will actually provide into the terrorist group.
Khan faces 15 years in prison, but prosecutors agreed to recommend just five years in exchange for information on ISIS. The unusual plea deal stipulates the government will monitor Khan until 2034, including his phone and online communications.
A judge set a June 15 sentencing date, giving the prosecution several months to asses Khan’s cooperation.