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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
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Accused NY-NJ Bomber Debuts in Federal Court

MANHATTAN (CN) — The man charged with setting off bombs in New York and New Jersey hobbled into court for the first time on Thursday for a federal hearing where the bullet wounds from his shootout with police dominated the morning.

Though captured by New Jersey authorities in September after a dual statewide manhunt, Ahmad Khan Rahimi has spent the intervening months recovering in a New Jersey hospital.

Initially misspelling the defendant's name as Rahami, separate criminal complaints against the 29-year-old charge him, among other things, with using weapons of mass destruction.

Dozens suffered minor injuries in the blasts from Sept. 17 and 18 that led police to Rahimi and several other undetonated devices.

Defense attorneys tried to get Rahimi into court earlier, complaining that investigators had been interrogating their client without legal counsel.

With Rahimi limping Thursday in his beige prison suit, U.S. District Judge Sarah Netburn began this morning's hearing by giving the defendant a Miranda warning, and formally appointing David Patton, executive director of the Federal Defenders of New York, as his lead attorney.

Rahimi sat slumped his chair, rubbing his crossed arms, as Patton spoke about his client's injuries and the medical care he requires as the government moves him from the hospital to a federal prison cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Sustaining "serious liver damage," Rahimi has undergone between 8 and 10 surgeries, still has an open wound requiring dressing, and lost the use of one of his hands, Patton said.

The lawyer worried that MCC will be unable to treat such injuries.

"We've had problems with the MCC with far less serious medical issues," Patton said, adding later: "They gave us a generic response that they can handle it."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew deFillipis said that prosecutors will defer to the Bureau of Prison's expertise.

The next conference has been scheduled to sort out these issues on Nov. 16.

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