CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A Union County man charged for lying about his potential ties to ISIS entered a not guilty plea.
On Wednesday, a federal judge decided to place 29 year-old Alexander Smith on probation with several restrictions.
Smith’s family filled the courtroom during the hearing. His attorney pointed to that as evidence he has close ties in the community, which was part of the argument to let him go home.
“I know he’s innocent,” said one of Smith’s family members after the hearing.
His family walked out the front of the courthouse and a short time later, Alexander Smith walked out the back. He was still shackled, but likely not for long.
A judge placed him on probation with certain requirements including a GPS monitoring device, surrendering his passport, travel restrictions outside of Western North Carolina, and no possession of a firearm. That means he will have to have a different assignment at his job as an armed security guard.
The 29-year-old is facing federal charges for allegedly lying to the FBI about his potential ties to ISIS. He’s accused of initiating contact with a person in 2014 who the FBI identifies as an ISIS representative.
Prosecutors say Smith discussed plans to travel to Syria and fight with the terrorist organization. On Wednesday, his family deflected questions about the specifics.
“I have no comment,” one family member said.
His attorney spoke on his behalf, entering a not guilty plea and requesting the case be heard by a jury.
The judge ordered Smith not to be released until the GPS monitoring system was established, which could come with a slight delay.