United States v. Harcevic, No. 19-2755 (8th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit concluded that defendant's unconditional guilty plea waived the lawful combatant immunity defense and affirmed defendant's conviction for conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and for providing material support to terrorists. In this case, defendant unconditionally pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to terrorists (Count 1), and providing material support to terrorists (Count 3), in violation of 18 U.S.C. 956(a) and 2339A. The district court accepted defendant's plea and subsequently sentenced defendant to 66 months' imprisonment.
The court explained that defendant's plea is the equivalent of admitting all material facts alleged in the charge. The court concluded that defendant's assertion that the individual he assisted was involved with the Free Syrian Army and was therefore entitled to lawful combatant immunity directly contradicts the terms of the indictment. Therefore, defendant's unconditional guilty plea failed to preserve his lawful combatant immunity claim for appeal.