Accused Chelsea bomber Ahmad Khan Rahimi pleaded not guilty through his lawyer to attempted murder charges in New Jersey Superior Court on Thursday, making his first appearance before a judge through a video hookup from his hospital room.
Sitting up in his hospital bed, Rahimi answered “Yes” to a series of standard questions from Judge Regina Caulfield about whether he understood the charges and his rights, looking briefly at public defender Peter Liguori before each answer.
Rahimi, 28, faces five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and weapons charges stemming from a Sept. 19 shootout with Linden police that ended with his capture. He has been hospitalized for treatment of multiple gunshot wounds since then.
He is being held on $5.2 million bail. The judge did not set a date for his next court appearance and received no update on his medical condition, but Rahimi showed no visible signs of distress during the brief hearing.
The judge presided in an Elizabeth, N.J., courtroom filled with media, including some foreign media. Officer Angel Padilla, one of the officers wounded in the shootout, attended along with seven other Linden cops.
Liguori, at the start of the hearing, said his client — originally charged and widely reported in the press as “Rahami” – actually spelled his name Rahimi.
Rahimi also faces explosives charges in both Manhattan and New Jersey federal courts. Authorities say he planted two bombs in Chelsea, one of which injured 31 when it exploded last month, and other bombs in the Garden State.
No date has been set for his appearances in the two federal cases.