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US jury finds NJ man guilty in 2016 Manhattan bombing

File photo: Ahmad Khan Rahimi, an Afghan-born US citizen accused of planting bombs in New York and New Jersey, appears in Union County Superior Court for a hearing in Elizabeth

A New Jersey man was found guilty by a federal jury in New York on Monday of planting two bombs in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood in September 2016, one of which exploded and wounded 30 people.

Ahmad Khan Rahimi, a 29-year-old US citizen who was born in Afghanistan, faces a mandatory life sentence in prison after his conviction on charges including using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a public place. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan 18.

Sabrina Shroff, a lawyer for Rahimi, declined to comment on the verdict.

Rahimi, dubbed the “Chelsea bomber,” was also accused of planting a bomb on the route of a charity running race in New Jersey, which exploded without injuring anyone, and shooting at New Jersey police before being captured. He still faces separate New Jersey charges over those accusations.

Over the course of Rahimi’s two-week trial in New York, jurors heard testimony from multiple people who were injured by the bomb, made using a pressure cooker and a cell phone timer, that exploded on Manhattan’s West 23rd Street.

One woman testified that she was nearly blinded when a piece of shrapnel struck her next to her eye. Another man described the sound of the explosion as “doomsday.”

Jurors heard from law enforcement officers who were at the scene of the West 23rd Street blast, and who removed an unexploded pressure cooker bomb found on nearby West 27th Street. Others testified about fingerprint and DNA evidence linking Rahimi to the bombs.

Prosecutors played a series of surveillance videos that appeared to show Rahimi walking around Manhattan carrying suitcases and a backback in the hours leading up the explosion. Another video appeared to show Rahimi testing an explosive device in his New Jersey backyard.

They also read from a bloody journal Rahimi was found carrying, in which he referred to Osama bin Laden and wrote that “the sounds of the bombs will be heard in the streets.”

The prosecutors called an expert witness to testify about how Rahimi was influenced by radical anti-American materials found on his computer, including a publication called Inspire Magazine, believed to be produced by al-Qaeda.

Rahimi did not testify, and his lawyers did not call any witnesses. In her closing argument, defence lawyer Shroff focused on the West 27th Street bomb, saying the evidence did not show that Rahimi ever meant for it to go off.


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