The man facing federal terrorism charges for his alleged shooting of a New York City subway train last month pleaded not guilty in court Friday.
Frank James, 62, appeared in court with his attorney one week after a federal grand jury indicted the man for an attack that wounded 10 people and rattled a city already experiencing a rise in violent crime.
The indictment charges James with committing a terrorist attack or other violence against a mass transportation system and discharging a firearm during a violent crime. Both counts carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. The weapons count has a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence.
James was arrested on April 13, about 30 hours after authorities say he drove from Philadelphia and unleashed smoke bombs and dozens of bullets in a train full of morning commuters as it approached a Brooklyn station. The shooting victims ranged in age from 16 to 60; all were expected to survive.
Authorities said James's bank card, cellphone and a key to a van he had rented were found at the shooting scene. Police also said they found the handgun used in the shooting and traced it to James.
Defense attorney Mia Eisner-Grynberg had cautioned at at the time of James' arrest not to rush to judgment and noted that James alerted police to his whereabouts. He was arrested in Manhattan’s East Village after he called a tip line saying he was at a fast food restaurant in that section of the city.
Eisner-Grynberg declined comment outside court Friday.
James entered the plea in federal court in Brooklyn, where U.S, District Judge William F. Kuntz began the proceeding by asking him, “How are you doing today?”
“Pretty good," James responded.
Asked about his educational background, James said he attended public schools in the Bronx before earning a GED. He said he also attended some trade schools.
A motive for the attack is unclear. In numerous rants he posted on YouTube, James, who is Black, made bigoted remarks about people of various backgrounds and railed against New York Mayor Eric Adams and complained about mental health care he received in the city years ago.
James, who's being held without bail, is due back in court July 25.