Texas Man Accused of Plotting ISIS Attack on Trump Tower Admits to Conspiracy

Texas Man Accused of Plotting ISIS Attack on Trump Tower Admits to Conspiracy
NYPD officers stand guard in front on Trump Tower on 5th Avenue the night before the presidential elections in New York on Nov. 2, 2020. (Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images)
Isabel van Brugen

A Texas man who allegedly plotted terrorist attacks in New York City, including on the White House and Trump Tower in Manhattan, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to provide material support to the ISIS terrorist group and possessing child porn, federal officials said.

Jaylyn Christopher Molina, 22, of Cost in Gonzales County, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS and one count of receiving child pornography, the Department of Justice said in a release.

Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Farrer, Molina admitted that since May 2019, he conspired with South Carolina resident Kristopher Sean Matthews, 34, who had the alias “Ali Jibreel,” and other ISIS terrorist supporters to provide services to the terrorist group.

The 22-year-old admitted to administering an encrypted, members-only chat group for people who support the ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham/Syria. Molina collected, generated, and disseminated pro-ISIS propaganda, attempted to recruit individuals to join ISIS, and disseminated bomb-making instructions, officials said.

According to court records, Molina and Matthews discussed traveling to Syria to fight alongside the terrorist group, and plotted to carry out attacks at Trump Tower in New York City, the White House, the New York Stock Exchange, the headquarters of federal law enforcement agencies, and other places.

“We need to stick together, we need to defeat them, we need to take a lot of casualties,” Molina allegedly said as the two men discussed plans to kill in a terrorist attack. Matthews said it would be better to attack government buildings instead of areas “like malls where innocent children are,” according to the officials.

At one point, Molina wrote: “You are my enemy [America] and never will I wear your flag … but I will raise the black flag of Allah,” as reported by News4, citing charging documents in September last year.

The two also described gaining some kind of notoriety if they pulled off the attack. It would make them “rock star status baby,” Matthews said. “This could be Netflix worthy.”

Federal authorities also found 18 images depicting child pornography on Molina’s phone after the device was seized during a search warrant on Sept. 18, 2020.

Molina faces up to 20 years in federal prison on the conspiracy charge and up to 20 years in federal prison on the child pornography charge. He remains in federal custody pending sentencing, officials said.

Separately in November last year, Matthews pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge to provide material support to ISIS, and his sentencing is scheduled for March 4.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.