Ahmad Khan Rahimi, suspected in the September bombing campaign in New York and New Jersey, made his first appearance in federal court Thursday where he is charged with four criminal counts, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction.
The suspect, referred to as Rahami in court documents although his attorneys say his name is Rahimi, was charged with four counts: use of weapons of mass destruction, bombing a place of public use, destruction of public property by means of fire or explosives and use of a destructive device in a crime of violence.
His attorney said, “He certainly plans to enter a plea of not guilty” once the government secures an indictment, which could come by the end of November.
There was no bail request, so Rahami will remain in federal custody.
Rahami is suspected of leaving explosive devices in New Jersey and Manhattan during a September weekend. No one was injured in New Jersey, but the Manhattan blast went off on a busy street in Chelsea on a Saturday night, sending debris flying through the air and pedestrians running down the street. Thirty-one people were injured.
Rahami was captured on Sept. 19, the Monday after that weekend, after engaging police in a shootout.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York said Rahami was “allegedly driven by a commitment to violent jihad” when he “planted bombs in the heart of Manhattan and in New Jersey.”
In federal court today, Rahami walked with a limp. He was not handcuffed and did not wear leg irons. According to his attorney, Rahami has substantial and lasting injuries from his shootout with police: he cannot close his left hand, he has an open wound on his right leg and unspecified liver damage. He has had several operations, some of them to treat a series of infections.
Rahami will return to court next Tuesday for a hearing to evaluate his medical care. Rahami has been transferred from the medical facility in Trenton, New Jersey, where he was previously held, and his attorney questioned whether he can get the same degree of care at the downtown jail where he is currently being held.
Rahami was also charged in New Jersey with handgun possession and attempted murder of five officers in connection to the shootout. He pleaded not guilty to those charges last month.