A US federal jury convicted an Illinois man on Monday for creating a computer script intending to help ISIS spread propaganda online, according to a Department of Justice statement.
Chicago man Thomas Osadzinski, 22, designed a computer script that he believed would make it easier for ISIS to reproduce its material posted online.
He shared his script and instructions on how to use it in 2019 with individuals he thought were ISIS supporters and members of pro-ISIS media groups.
The individuals turned out to be undercover FBI agents.
Osadzinski faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison after being found guilty of attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.
Assistant US Attorney Melody Wells told jurors last week that ISIS view their online messengers as equals to battlefield soldiers, The Chicago Sun Times reported.
“[Osadzinski] was responding to those directions to engage in media jihad to support ISIS on the digital front,” Wells said. “There is nothing independent about this.”
Defense attorney Joshua Herman argued that his client’s actions were protected by free speech laws.
He argued that “the First Amendment includes a right to say things that are disfavored, that are reprehensible, that are vile.”
Wells added that Osadzinski resisted arrest and fought officers before he was finally apprehended.