New York bombing defendant Ahmad Khan Rahimi is brought into court in Elizabeth N.J. in 2016
14 February, 2018, 19:53
The first explosion, on September 17, occurred along the route of a charity 5K race in Seaside Park, New Jersey.
Judge Berman said Tuesday that Rahimi's defense provided "not an ounce of justification".
Rahimi told the court that he does not "harbor hate for anyone". He went on to place a homemade bomb - packed into a pressure cooker and wired to a flip-phone detonator - on a stretch of the Chelsea neighborhood's West 23rd Street, busy with pedestrians on a warm Saturday night.
Rahimi was awaiting sentencing last month in the Metropolitan Correctional Center when prosecutors claimed to have found evidence that he was trying to radicalize a fellow inmate with al-Qaida propaganda smuggled into the prison.
"I don't harbor hate toward anyone", Ahmed Khan Rahimi said during a rambling statement in which he defended his family and criticized the Federal Bureau of Investigation, prosecutors and prison officials.
Authorities said it was a miracle no one was killed by Rahimi's fiendish blast, which sent a nearby dumpster flying more than 120 feet and sprayed shrapnel that tore into the chests, legs and eyes of innocent passers-by. He said consecutive life sentences would not "show the world justice".
Rahimi was critically wounded in a shootout with police on September 19 before being captured, and was found with a handwritten journal lauding Osama bin Laden and US-born Al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki.
He said he considered Rahimi to be a danger to the community, citing the "hostile and threatening " nature of the bombings and the influence of "virulent anti-U.S." terrorist propaganda.
"Since his arrest, Mr. Rahimi has completed classes in business, entrepreneurship and drama while in BOP (Federal Bureau of Prisons) custody", the letter said.
"The U.S. has this program called 'see something, say something, '" Rahimi said.
"He failed", said New York Police Department Commissioner James O'Neill.
The device four blocks north failed to explode.
"Rahimi's conviction and sentencing are victories for New York City and our nation in the fight against terror".
Prosecutors said Rahimi began distributing these materials in October 2017, if not earlier. The day after the Chelsea explosion, Rahimi returned to New Jersey and left a backpack containing six pipe bombs in an Elizabeth, N.J., train station.
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