Trial Date Set for Port Authority Bombing Suspect

This undated photo provided by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission shows Akayed Ullah, the suspect in the explosion near New York’s Times Square.

MANHATTAN (CN) – Suspected Port Authority bomber Akayed Ullah will stand trial on Oct. 29, just a year shy of the botched explosion in which Ullah sustained the only injuries from the pipe bomb strapped to his chest.

In addition to scheduling the 27-year-old’s trial at a hearing Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan set a deadline for July 17 for Ullah’s attorneys to file any motions.

Defense attorney Amy Gallicchio estimated that she has to review 263 hours of video from Ullah’s files.

“We have really just scratched the surface,” she said, referring to the evidence, which will require Arabic and Bengali translation.

Making the trial preparation more difficult, Gallicchio said, is her client’s detention in a special housing unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where inmates are typically held in solitary confinement.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn Crowley revealed that the footage includes “dozens” of videos related to the Islamic State group and the “Hereafter” series by Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical cleric who inspired several convicted terrorists. Awlaki and his son were killed in a 2011 predator drone strike in Yemen.

Prosecutors also say they have surveillance video showing Ullah attempting to detonate the bomb on Dec. 11, 2017.

In this courtroom drawing, Akayed Ullah is seen on a video monitor from his hospital room, joined by federal defenders Amy Gallicchio (left) and Juliet Gatto on Dec. 13, 2017, in New York. U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine Parker is pictured at left on the bench beside the video monitor. Ullah, 27, is accused of detonating a pipe bomb that was strapped to his body on Dec. 11, 2017, in a pedestrian tunnel linking two busy subway stations near New York City’s Port Authority bus terminal. Only he was seriously injured. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Ullah faces up to life imprisonment if convicted of charges that include supporting a foreign terrorist organization, using a weapon of mass destruction, bombing a place of public use, destroying public property and using a destructive device in a crime of violence.

Gallicchio said that she would consider filing motions to suppress statements Ullah made after her arrest.

While she did not specify which ones, prosecutors claim that Ullah told investigators: “I did it for the Islamic State.”

After being treated for his injuries at Bellevue Hospital, Ullah went to federal court in January, where he said he would plead “at this moment, not guilty.”

Ullah’s defense attorneys may also consider filing a motion to change the venue from the Southern District of New York.

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