New York

Jury ‘Very Near Consensus' in Chelsea Bombing Trial

Jurors hearing the case of the man accused of planting bombs in Manhattan and along a 5K route on the Jersey Shore said Friday they were "very near a consensus" but will not deliver a verdict until Monday. 

The federal jury will reconvene on Monday to continue deliberation over the fate of Ahmad Khan Rahimi, the man accused of detonating a bomb in Chelsea that injured 30 people. Rahimi is also accused of planting another bomb a few blocks away and a third explosive at a charity race in Seaside Park, New Jersey; no one was injured by either of those devices. 

Rahimi is charged with the use of a weapon of mass destruction, bombing a place of public use, destroying property with an explosive and using a destructive device to further a crime of violence, among other charges.

In their closing arguments Friday, the defense for accused Chelsea bomber Ahmad Khan Rahimi conceded some guilt as they asked the jury to find him not guilty on only some counts. 

Defense attorney Sabrina Schroff asked the jury to find Rahimi not guilty on counts two, five and eight of the indictment -- all but conceding guilty on the other counts. 

"We have no cover story for you," she said. 

In a 42-minute summation, Schroff argued that after Rahimi heard the explosion go off on West 23rd Street on Sept. 17, 2016, he had second thoughts about the other bomb he planted on West 27th Street.

That bomb never detonated, and Schroff argued, "this is a man who knows how to detonate a bomb. If he wanted to, he would have." 

She also argued that "callousness, carelessness, is not intent."

"If he really wanted to kill as many people as possible, as the government would have you believe, he would not pass up the opportunity," she said. 

The prosecution then delivered its rebuttal closing. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew DeFilippis said "the defendant answered the call of ISIS, the call of al-Qaeda," and that it was only the heroic actions of the NYPD bomb squad that prevented another "doomsday" on 27th Street. 

"In carrying out his jihad, the defendant is guilty as charged," said DeFilippis. 

On Thursday, the government used a tearful final witness and a closing argument to urge the jury to convict Rahimi, saying he meant to kill Americans but "by some miracle" instead injured 30 people.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Emil Bove said Rahimi purposely chose "soft targets" and unsuspecting victims when he planted bombs that morning along the route of a charity race in Seaside Park, New Jersey, and at dusk on 23rd and 27th streets in Manhattan. The New Jersey pipe bomb injured no one while the 23th street bomb caused all the injuries. The 27th street bomb did not explode.

"By some miracle, no one was killed," Bove said. "It's not a defense that nobody died."

The prosecutor said Rahimi, arrested in a shootout with New Jersey police officers two days after the attacks, left behind a claim of responsibility in a journal he wrote that amounts to a confession.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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