MANHATTAN (CN) – The accused terrorist behind a New York City truck attack that killed eight people last year disregarded warnings about his right against self-incrimination on Friday in a 10-minute speech extolling the Islamic State group.
“The Islamic State, in order to impose Sharia on Earth, is leading a war,” Sayfullo Saipov volunteered in court through an interpreter on Friday afternoon.
“So, the Islamic State is not fighting for land, as some say, or fighting for oil,” the 30-year-old added.
Opening his 10-minute speech with a prayer, Saipov ignored U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick’s reminder that prosecutors could use his words against him in new murder charges heading down to Washington for death-penalty consideration.
“The judgments made by those here are not important for me,” Saipov said, calling them that the judgments of those with “weak minds.”
Saipov’s murder and attempted murder counts will head to the Department of Justice’s Capital Review Center on July 23.
“We expect that the decision will be made by the attorney general in September,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Houle said.
There is little doubt that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will seek Saipov’s execution.
President Donald Trump tweeted “DEATH PENALTY” after Saipov’s arrest, following his deadly Halloween ride with a rented Load ‘N Go flatback truck along the pedestrian and bicycle greenway along Manhattan’s West Side Highway.
Before crashing into a school bus, the Uzbek immigrant ran his rented pickup truck into nearly two dozen people, leaving eight dead.
With the capital-punishment determination not yet made, Saipov’s attorney David Patton wanted to postpone the trial date to enter into plea negotiations with an aim of life imprisonment.
Judge Broderick set one instead for Oct. 7, 2019, more than a year away.