New Jersey bomb evidence OK at trial of bombing defendant
NEW YORK (AP) — Jurors can hear about New Jersey bombs at the October trial of a man charged in a 2016 New York bombing that injured 30 people, but they will not be told that he was arrested after a shootout with police, a judge ruled Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman in Manhattan identified evidence that can be offered at Ahmad Khan Rahimi’s trial.
He said various terrorism-related videotapes, a book, a blood-stained journal with a bullet hole in it and two 2012 emails found during the investigation can be included because they might show motive, intentions, preparation and knowledge of the Sept. 17 bombings.
Also allowed was evidence of a pipe bomb detonated near a charity run in Seaside Park, New Jersey, and a bomb left in an Elizabeth, New Jersey, trash can, along with video recordings of Rahimi in New Jersey and New York on Sept. 17 and setting off explosives in his backyard two days before the bombing.
The judge noted that some of the same ingredients — black powder and modified Christmas tree lights — were used in the New Jersey bombs and one that went off in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, causing the injuries. A second Manhattan bomb did not explode.
The Afghanistan-born man from Elizabeth was arrested two days after the bombing in a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey, that left him seriously injured. He has pleaded not guilty and remains held without bail.
The judge said it would be “unduly prejudicial” to let prosecutors expose jurors to evidence related to the shootout, including video, anything related to weapons or evidence that he tried to elude law enforcement.
Berman noted that Rahimi faces separate charges in New Jersey state court related to the shootout.
The defense had opposed government plans to show jurors emails seized from Rahimi’s electronic accounts that attach video links showing people with headscarves, an assault rifle and a rocket-launcher, and a link to “The Book of Jihad.” The judge, though, said they were relevant.
Berman disallowed an email linked to a criminal complaint.