An appeals court has agreed that two lawyers accused of throwing Molotov cocktails at New York City police vehicles can be released on bail, siding with the district judge who also ordered the pair be released.
Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn had initially sought detention of Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman, a pair of young Brooklyn attorneys, citing dangerousness to the community, saying that the two violated their oaths and crossed a sacred line by targeting the police.
A magistrate judge had previously freed the lawyers on bail, but they were detained again after federal prosecutors in Brooklyn appealed the decision.
Prosecutors argued in the appeals court that Mattis "has not demonstrated himself to be a rational person” because the 32-year-old corporate attorney was willing to risk his career and the advantage of his education by allegedly acting as Rahman's getaway driver after she allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail into an unoccupied police vehicle on May 30.
No one was injured in the attack, which came amid an eruption of demonstrations following the death of George Floyd.
The appeals court found Tuesday that the conditions of Rahman and Mattis' release are sufficient to ensure public safety and that they both had no prior criminal history.
"Both demonstrated they had deep ties to the community, and both had friends and family explain that they were willing to post $250,000 bonds as bail, for which they would be jointly and severally liable if defendants left their homes in a non-approved manner," Judge Margo Brodie wrote.
Mattis and Rahman face federal counts that would carry at least 45 years in prison if they are convicted of all counts, including conspiracy.