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Prosecutor tells judge Chelsea bombing case could start in 4 months

Ahmad Khan Rahimi, accused of detonating a bomb

Ahmad Khan Rahimi, accused of detonating a bomb in Manhattan Sept. 17 that injured 30 people, pleaded not guilty on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Credit: AP

The federal terror trial of accused Chelsea bomber Ahmad Khan Rahimi could begin in the late winter or early spring of 2017, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Speaking at Rahimi’s arraignment in Manhattan federal court on an eight-count terrorism indictment stemming from the Sept. 17 bombings in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, and Manhattan which injured 31, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Lewin indicated to Judge Richard Berman during a hearing that a possible trial could be only four months away.

Minutes earlier, Rahimi, 28, had shuffled into court, apparently still hobbled from injuries he received in when he was seriously wounded in a shootout with police in New Jersey during his capture Sept. 19. Rahimi, who looked frail, also coughed quietly and sipped water from a foam cup.

Defense attorney Peggy Cross-Goldenberg entered a not guilty plea on Rahimi’s behalf and told Berman her client had unspecified medical issues that needed to be addressed. Rahimi, who also is known as Mohammad Rahimi, is being held in Manhattan at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Lewin noted that prosecutors were putting together evidence to turn over to the defense, including a montage of video surveillance images which he said show Rahimi planting pressure cooker bombs in Chelsea. One bomb detonated near a metal trash bin, but another unexploded device was found on West 23rd Street. The New Jersey explosion, which took place just before the start of a local road race, didn’t injure anyone.

While the case invoked federal terrorism statutes, Lewin said it was not expected that there would be any classified materials used by the government.

Rahimi also faces attempted murder charges in New Jersey state court related to the shootout with police.

Berman set the next court date in Manhattan for Dec. 19. Cross-Goldenberg declined to comment to reporters.


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