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Judge chides accused Chelsea bomber’s lawyers over progress

Ahmad Rahimi.

Ahmad Rahimi. Credit: Union County Prosecutor’s Office

A Manhattan federal judge on Wednesday chided accused Chelsea bomber Ahmad Khan Rahimi’s defense lawyers for slow progress working through 10 terabytes of evidence supplied by the government, and said he was sticking with a planned March 27 trial date.

“Someone else in your shoes would be doing this night and day,” U.S. District Judge Richard Berman complained to the team of federal public defenders representing Rahimi. “. . . This is not every case.”

Defense lawyers said they were working as fast as they could wading through thousands of emails, documents and pictures and hours of video surveillance. Berman can’t finalize a trial date until Rahimi’s team decides what motions are needed, and they said March 27 was impossible.

“It’s not doable,” defense lawyer Sabrina Shroff told the judge, who set Jan. 31 for another update on progress.

Rahimi, 28, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, is accused of planting two pressure-cooker bombs in Chelsea on Sept. 17. One detonated, injuring more than 30 people. He also allegedly planted bombs in New Jersey, and then was captured on Sept. 19 after a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey.

Hospitalized for weeks with leg and hand wounds and a damaged kidney, he hobbled in and out of the courtroom at his last appearance in December. On Wednesday, his condition appeared better and he walked with only a slight limp.

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