By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One of two Twin Cities brothers accused of trying to join ISIS changed his plea to guilty at an emotional court hearing Thursday. That means Adnan Farah will likely testify against his brother and three other defendants.

Just as the hearing for 20-year-old Adnan Farah got underway, his mother collapsed and was rushed to Abott Northwestern Hospital. The hospital hasn’t released an update on her condition.

The change in plea comes after another attorney in the case filed an affidavit suggesting a local Imam — who was a legal advisor to Adnan’s brother Mohamed — had pressured Adnan into not taking an earlier plea deal.

The 20-year-old defendant was in tears and said the guilty plea was the most difficult decision of his life. He told the judge he was taking responsibility for his actions because he believes it is the right thing to do.

“I am more than sorry for the pain I caused my parents,” he told the court. “If I had listened to them, I wouldn’t be here today. I am sorry.”

Farahs mother Ayan has been an outspoken critic of the case in which two of her sons and eight others were charged with plotting to join ISIS. One of the group did make it to Syria in 2014 and is widely believed to have died fighting for ISIS.

Adnan’s guilty plea means prosecutors will likely ask him to testify against his brother.

“My client is going to tell the truth, and we will cross that bridge when we get there,” Adnan’s attorney Kenneth Udoibok said.

Under questioning from Judge Michael Davis, Adnan said he became radicalized by watching ISIS propaganda videos. He said he initially believed ISIS was helping persecuted Muslims, but he also said he was aware of ISIS beheadings and other atrocities and still wanted to join.

Adnan Farah had been originally offered the plea deal last fall, but that was quickly taken off the table. His attorney said the deal was offered again just yesterday.

In court, Prosecutors said they offered the deal again because of interference from a member of another defendant’s legal team.

While the four remaining defendants face life terms if convicted, Adnan Farah’s guilty plea means he’ll likely face closer to 10 years.

Esme Murphy

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