A Manhattan federal jury has convicted Ahmad Khan Rahimi of planting bombs in New York and New Jersey, including the pressure cooker explosive that injured 30 people and sparked chaos on a busy Chelsea street last summer.
The verdict, which came Monday morning after four hours of deliberation, concludes the two-week trial of Rahimi, a 29-year-old man from Elizabeth, New Jersey. According to prosecutors, Rahimi was inspired by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda to carry out the acts of terror, and saw himself a "soldier in a holy war against Americans."
The trial included testimony from several victims of the 23rd Street explosion, some of whom suffered serious injuries from the shrapnel expelled by the improvised device. "I felt myself thrust upwards and forwards," Helena Ayeh, a longtime West 23rd Street resident, told jurors. "My glasses had stayed on… [but] all of a sudden, I realized I couldn’t see anything. I didn't feel pain—I just felt blood."
In addition to testimony from several witnesses, prosecutors presented new surveillance footage showing terrified pedestrians running for their lives, as well as Rahimi calmly planting the explosives.
Rahimi also grew disruptive at various moments during the high-profile proceedings, and at one point was forcibly removed from the courtroom for yelling at the judge and jury.
“On September 17, 2016, Ahmad Khan Rahimi attacked our country and our way of life," acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said in a statement. "Inspired by ISIS and al Qaeda, Rahimi planted and detonated bombs on the streets of Chelsea, in the heart of Manhattan, and in New Jersey, hoping to kill and maim as many innocent people as possible. Rahimi’s crimes of hate have been met with swift and resolute justice."
"Just over a year after his attacks, and following a fair and open trial, Rahimi now stands convicted of his crimes of terror by a unanimous jury of New Yorkers," the statement continues. "As a result, he now faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. 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."
The charges, which include using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a public place, carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 18th. The defense plans to appeal the decision.