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Ahmad Rahimi found guilty in last year’s Manhattan bombings – World

A man accused of setting off a pressure cooker bomb in New York City that left 30 people with injuries has been convicted on all charges.

Jurors in federal court in New York City found 29-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahimi guilty of all charges after a two-week trial, including counts of using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a public place. The Afghanistan-born man, raised in New Jersey, faces a maximum punishment of life in prison.

Rahimi, wearing a wrinkled blue shirt and beige pants, stared straight ahead and at the jury as he was found guilty of all eight charges against him.  

“Today’s verdict is a victory for New York City, a victory for America in its fight against terror, and a victory for all who believe in the cause of justice,” said Joon H. Kim, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Prosecutors say Rahimi considered himself “a soldier in a holy war against Americans” and was inspired by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qaeda to carry out the attacks on Sept. 17, 2016. The second pressure-cooker bomb planted in Manhattan didn’t detonate.

Prosecutors said a pipe bomb he placed along a charity race in Seaside Park, N.J., was also part of his plan to kill Americans with weapons of mass destruction. The New Jersey bomb did not injure anyone, in part because the race was delayed by late entrants.

Rahimi pleaded not guilty after his arrest two days following a shootout with police in New Jersey that left him hospitalized for weeks. He has been held without bail since his arrest.

Manhattan Explosion-Blind Bystanders

In this Sept. 17, 2016, file photo, first responders work near the scene of an explosion in the Chelsea neighbourhood. (Andres Kudacki/Associated Press)

In his closing argument, assistant U.S. attorney Emil Bove described an unusually large amount of evidence that pointed to Rahimi. His fingerprints and DNA were found on bombs in the Sept. 17, 2016, attacks.

Dozens of videos tracked his movements as he dragged the bombs in suitcases through Manhattan streets, and they also captured the explosion at 23rd Street in the Chelsea neighbourhood that injured 30 people.

Still faces charges in New Jersey

As a bomb squad investigator testified, prosecutors showed jurors a mangled, waist-high trash bin that was sent flying 37 metres across a busy street by the bomb. The government called it a miracle that nobody was killed by the explosive, which scattered ball bearings meant to serve as shrapnel.

If that wasn’t enough, Bove said, jurors could look at a small notebook that was on Rahimi when he was arrested two days after the attack following a shootout with police in New Jersey. The prosecutor said Rahimi’s written words provided a confession as he took responsibility for the bombings in a “claim of credit” for attacks that left him feeling proud.

2016 AP Year End Photos

Ahmad Rahimi engaged in a confrontation with police before beings taken into custody on Sept. 19, 2016, in Linden, N.J. (Ed Murray/NJ Advance Media via AP)

Assistant public defender Sabrina Shroff did not deny evidence linking Rahimi to the 23rd Street bomb but asked jurors to question whether Rahimi really intended for the 27th Street bomb to go off. She urged the jury to acquit Rahimi of three charges that could result in a mandatory life prison sentence.

And she expressed compassion for those injured by the blast, some of whom testified during the trial.

“This is a difficult case for all of us because we are all New Yorkers,” Shroff said.

The defence said it would appeal. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 18.

Rahimi, whose surname was misreported as Rahami in the initial days after the bombing, still faces charges in New Jersey related to the shootout. He has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder of police officers.

Shroff said her client, who smiled as he was led from the courtroom, remained calm as this verdict was delivered.

“We all handle bad news in our own way,” she said.

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