(WJBK) - Khalil Abu Rayyan was accused of being an ISIS sympathizer, and in a legal complaint the FBI says he told an informant he planned a mass shooting at a Detroit church. But his lawyer says the FBI baited the 21-year-old into making terrorist statements -- and that he was simply trying to impress a woman he was falling for.
Abu Rayyan promised to make the woman happy in this life and the next - that was just one of many text messages he sent. Turned out, however, that he was talking with someone who worked with the FBI.
FOX 2 obtained some of the text messages. The young woman said she was depressed and was dead set on committing jihad, and was trying to convince Abu Rayyan to join her.
In one exchange the informant wrote: "So you don't want to do anything of what we talked about together?"
Abu Rayyan replied: "No I can't. I want us to be together."
The informant: "I have other plans. Inshallah. May Allah help me."
Abu Rayyan: "Don't do anything that will hurt you, yourself or other people"
"I believe this young man was set up or entrapped by an FBI informant in regards to a case that had nothing to do with terrorism or national security," says Dawud Walid from Michigan's Council of American Islamic Relations. "He got busted with a pistol and some weed." He adds that he always suspected something was awry in the case against Abu Rayyan.
Abu Rayyan's lawyer is accusing prosecutors of leaving out those text messages because it bolsters their argument of entrapment.
FOX 2 reporter and legal analyst Charlie Langton weighed in on the relationship between the undercover agent and Abu Rayyan.
"The test for entrapment - which is difficult in Michigan - is whether or not a non-criminal becomes a criminal because of what the cops say or do to that person," Langton says. "In this case, it seems like ... these two had a personal relationship. They were talking about family and then it went to jihad and terror - and most of it was initiated by the cop. It's not a bad case for entrapment."
The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office were not able to get back with us in time for this story.
Abu Rayyan's trial is set to start in late June. He's charged with possession of firearm by a prohibited person. The terrorist charges have since been dropped.
He remains in jail without bond. In light of the text messages and without a terrorism charge, if a psychologist deems he is not a danger his attorney hopes to get him out on bond.