By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Secret recordings made by a paid informant were played in court Thursday in the trial of three Twin Cities men accused of trying to join ISIS.

The secret recordings were made by 20-year-old Abdirahman Bashir, who at one time was part of the conspiracy before becoming an FBI informant in January of 2015.

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Prosecutors say the recordings made by Bashir show the men admitting to trying to leave the country to join ISIS, and conspiring to try and get fake passports.

While jurors had transcripts and head phones, the recordings were difficult to hear in the courtroom.

In one of the clearest recordings, defendant Guled Omar can be heard celebrating that the informant will be able to get fake passports.

Omar suggests in one recording that returning ISIS fighters can find routes to infiltrate the United States through Mexico.

Bashir testified earlier about how he, defendant Guled Omar and another local man, tried to leave for Syria in May of 2014 — but they were stopped by Omar’s family.

Prosecutors played ISIS videos that Bashir said he watched with the other defendants, including a gruesome mass beheading.

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Bashir testified that he began to have a change of heart about ISIS after four of his cousins, including Hanad Mohallim from Burnsville, were killed fighting for the terror group in November of 2014.

Bashir also admitted to lying to two grand juries, and even admitted lying to FBI agents after he began cooperating with the government.

Family and supporters of the defendants say Bashir and the recordings cannot be trusted.

“It’s very much a lot of noises and it’s not very clear … so it’s questionable,” said the translator for Ayan Farah, a mother of one of the suspects.

Bashir said he began cooperating because he knew he “was in big trouble,” and he was also motivated when he learned he could get paid.

Investigators revealed last year that Bashir had been paid more than $40,000. He is expected to be on the stand for several days.

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Esme Murphy