Accused New York bomber faces charges in federal court

November 10, 2016 8:48 AM EST

Suspected bomber Ahmad Khan Rahimi appears via video in a New Jersey state courtroom from his hospital bed, where he is recovering from gunshot wounds suffered during his arrest, in Elizabeth, New Jersey October 13, 2016. REUTERS/Ed Murray/Pool


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By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The man accused of injuring more than two dozen people in September bomb attacks in New York and New Jersey made his first appearance in federal court on Thursday to face charges of using a weapon of mass destruction.

Ahmad Khan Rahimi, 28, did not enter a plea during a brief morning hearing. He was charged with injuring 30 people by setting off a homemade bomb on a crowded sidewalk in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood on the night of Saturday, Sept. 17.

The attack came hours after federal prosecutors contend a pipe bomb planted by Rahimi went off along the course of a charity road race by the New Jersey shore, without injuring anyone. Prosecutors say he was driven by a radical jihadist ideology.

"The alleged Chelsea bomber was brought today to Manhattan to face terrorism charges," Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said in a statement.

Using an alternate spelling for the suspect's name, he said: "For his alleged acts of terror, Rahami will now face justice in a federal courthouse just blocks south of where he allegedly planted his bombs."

Rahimi sat quietly during the proceedings, dressed in beige prison clothing.

He was arrested two days after the bombing following a gunfight with police, who found him sleeping in the doorway of a bar in Linden, New Jersey.

His court-appointed attorney, David Patton, said Thursday he was concerned Rahimi would not receive adequate care for his wounds.

The 28-year-old, Afghan-born naturalized U.S. citizen "nearly lost the use of one of his hands," has an open wound and "is suffering from serious liver damage," Patton said.

He said he had raised these concerns with the jail where Rahimi will now be held, adding, "They gave a generic response they could handle it, but I'll be honest, I don't have great confidence."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew DeFilippis responded that the Bureau of Prisons has told prosecutors it believes it can house Rahimi.

U.S. Magistrate Sarah Netburn scheduled a follow-up hearing for Wednesday.

In addition to the bombs that went off, Rahimi is charged with planting another pressure-cooker bomb in Chelsea that did not go off, and with leaving several devices at a train station in Elizabeth in New Jersey.

He faces four criminal counts in New York, including use of a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use.

(Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Bernadette Baum)



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