Man charged in terrorist support case pleads guilty

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CLEVELAND (AP) – A man who authorities said thought he was working with an al-Qaida operative to scout locations for a July 4 terror attack in downtown Cleveland has pleaded guilty to federal charges.

The U.S. Justice Department said 50-year-old Demetrius Pitts, of Maple Heights, pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempting to provide support to a terrorist group and for threats against President Donald Trump and his family.

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Authorities said Pitts between 2015 and 2017 wanted to recruit people to kill Americans. He met with an undercover FBI agent posing as an al-Qaida operative in 2018 to discuss plans for a terrorist attack during July 4 fireworks.

Pitts’ attorney declined to comment about the plea.

Pitts is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 11 and could face as many as 14 years in prison.