The trial for the case of an Arizona man, who helped a New York college student travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group, started Tuesday. Ahmed Mohammed El Gammal, 44, has been charged with providing support to ISIS.

A prosecutor told jurors in his opening statements in Manhattan federal court that Gammal had helped the student in 2015 after the two met online. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew DeFilippis said Gammal assisted Samy Mohammed El-Goarany, a 24-year-old student at Baruch College in Manhattan, in joining the terrorist group, and also got him in touch with an associate in Turkey in order for him to reach Syria.

"His journey to ISIS began right here in New York City," DeFilippis reportedly said. "And it succeeded with the help of the defendant."

However, Gammal's lawyer Annalisa Miron said the Egyptian-born Phoenix resident did not know El-Goarany was an ISIS sympathizer and wanted to join the terrorist group's fight against the West. The lawyer also said that Gammal was being made into a "scapegoat."

"The government is looking for someone to blame, and they chose him," Miron said, according to Reuters, adding "For some people, he said he was going to work with refugees — Syrian refugees."

According to prosecutors, El-Goarany first met Gammal online after learning of online comments he posted supporting ISIS. After the conversation, Gammal traveled to New York and met El-Goarany. Later in January 2015, El-Goarany traveled to Istanbul from New York,and sometime in mid-February arrived in Syria. 

In November 2015, an unidentified person contacted one of El-Goarany's relatives via an instant messaging platform to report that he had been killed fighting in Syria, prosecutors said.

Just two months before his death, El-Goarany complied and made a video, saying: “I came here and I made this video to let you know that I came here out of my own will."

El-Goarany also allegedly said: “I didn’t come to this decision with anybody’s influence or anybody’s recruitment. I came here. It was my decision and mine alone. Nobody financed me to come here ... Nobody bought my plane ticket. All that (was) with my own money. Nobody showed me the way to get here.”