Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Ohio at Dayton.
No. 3:17-cr-00071-1—Walter H. Rice, District Judge.
Argued: October 20, 2020
Decided and Filed: November 5, 2020
Before: McKEAGUE, GRIFFIN, and BUSH, Circuit Judges.
JOHN K. BUSH, Circuit Judge. On April 26, 2017, FBI agents arrested Laith Waleed
Alebbini at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport. They suspected that he was
attempting to travel to Turkey and then Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
(“ISIS”)—a designated foreign terrorist organization. A grand jury in the U.S. District Court for
the Southern District of Ohio returned an indictment charging Alebbini with attempting and
conspiring to provide material support and resources to ISIS. Soon thereafter, Alebbini waived
his right to trial by jury, and the case proceeded to a bench trial before the district court. After
hearing evidence and arguments for ten days, the district court found Alebbini guilty on both
On appeal, Alebbini challenges the sufficiency of the evidence for both of his
convictions. First, he argues that the proof was insufficient to convict him of conspiring to
provide material support to ISIS because it did not demonstrate that he entered into any kind of
agreement with his alleged co-conspirator and cousin, Raid Ababneh. Second, he argues that the
evidence was insufficient to convict him of attempting to provide material support to ISIS
because it did not demonstrate that he took a substantial step towards the crime charged, or that
he intended to work under the direction and control of ISIS. Viewing the evidence in the light
most favorable to the prosecution, a rational trier of fact could have found the elements of the
crimes charged beyond a reasonable doubt. We therefore AFFIRM the district court’s judgment.