Ahmad Rahimi convicted of NYC pressure-cooker bombing

By Allen Cone  |  Oct. 16, 2017 at 2:39 PM
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Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Accused terror militant Ahmad Rahimi was convicted Monday in the explosion of a pressure-cooker bomb on a New York City street that injured 30 people last year.

A federal jury in Manhattan convicted Rahimi, a 29-year-old Afghan-born man living in New Jersey, of eight charges that included using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a public place.

Rahimi faces a maximum punishment of life in prison, according to a statement from Joon H. Kim, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The defense lawyers, who did not call a single witness or the suspect, said they will appeal.

During the two-week trial, prosecutors said Rahimi considered himself "a soldier in a holy war against Americans" and was inspired by the Islamic State group and al-Qaida to carry out attacks in New York and New Jersey in September 2016.

In video surveillance, he was seen dragging the bombs in suitcases through Manhattan streets, and exploding one at 23rd Street in the Chelsea neighborhood. A second bomb at West 27th Street failed to detonate.

Authorities said the bomb that exploded contained hundreds of ball bearings and steel nuts.

"He designed it," said Asst. U.S. Attorney Shawn Crowley in his opening argument. "He built it. He filled it with explosives and deadly shrapnel, and he planted it on the street."

On Sept. 19, Rahimi was arrested in Union County, N.J., after allegedly detonating a pipe bomb at a charity run in Seaside Park. No one was hurt in the Marine Corps event.

Two Linden police officers were wounded in a shootout while attempting to arrest Rahami. He still faces attempted murder charges for New Jersey incident.

"I'm glad that he was convicted," said Cort Cheek, 59, who was injured in the attack. "That's one less person to worry about that's traumatizing Americans."

He told the New York Daily News he still has anxiety stemming from the attack.

The trial was delayed for 45 minutes on Oct. 1 when Rahimi refused to enter the courtroom. When he entered, he told Judge Richard Berman, "The whole year I've waited to get this across. I actually came out only to speak to you."

U.S. marshals then took him from the courtroom.

Rahimi eventually apologized to Berman, telling him he had not seen his family in nearly a year.

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