Chelsea Bombing Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Attempted Murder of NJ Police Officers

Ahmad Rahimi is accused of planting bombs in New York and New Jersey that wounded 31 people in September, as well as trying to kill police officers during his capture

What to Know

  • Ahmad Khan Rahimi is accused of planting bombs in New York and New Jersey that wounded 31 people in September
  • The 28-year-old Afghan native was captured after a shootout with police in New Jersey two days after the bombings
  • He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in a New Jersey court on charges he tried to murder police officers during his capture in Linden

The man charged with setting off bombs in New York and New Jersey pleaded not guilty to attempted murder of police officers and other charges during his arraignment Tuesday in a New Jersey court. 

The prosecutor said no plea offer would be extended to Ahmad Khan Rahimi, who is accused of trying to kill police officers during his capture in Linden, New Jersey, in September. 

A deputy had to help Rahimi, who continues to recover from multiple gunshot wounds sustained in the Sept. 19 shootout with Linden police officers, walk into the courtroom. He appeared to have significant trouble walking. 

Officer Angel Padilla, who prosecutors say was shot by Rahimi, was in court along with fellow Linden officers at an October court hearing. Rahimi appeared in that hearing via video from his hospital bed. 

On Monday, a federal prosecutor said the government won't introduce at trial a lengthy statement from Rahimi to keep to a scheduled trial date in March.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Lewin told a judge that his office wanted "both on the government's behalf and the public's behalf a speedy trial in this matter," The New York Times reported.

Rahimi pleaded not guilty in an indictment charging him in the Sept. 17 attacks, which included the detonation of a bomb in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood that injured 30 people. Another bomb did not explode.

Lewin told U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman that Rahimi made a statement to law enforcement over several days. He said the statement was "taken lawfully" under the public-safety exception to the Miranda rule. The exception allows authorities to question a suspect in certain situations before the suspect is represented by a lawyer if public safety is at stake.

Rahimi was questioned by authorities while he was hospitalized after being caught following a Sept. 19 shootout with police in Linden.

Rahimi's federal public defender, Peggy Cross-Goldenberg, said Monday that the defense could not be ready by the scheduled March 27 trial date because the government had provided so much discovery material.

"We're going to have a speedy trial," Judge Berman countered. "If the 27th is impossible, it's not going to be long after that."

Besides the Manhattan attacks, Rahimi, an Afghan-born U.S. citizen from Elizabeth, New Jersey, is charged with detonating a pipe bomb along a Marine Corps charity race in Seaside Park, New Jersey, earlier in the day. Another bomb found at a train station didn't explode.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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