Port Authority bombing suspect pleads not guilty to terror charges


Port Authority bombing suspect Akayed Ullah entered a time-qualified not guilty plea Thursday at his Manhattan federal court arraignment on charges of detonating a pipe bomb last month in an underground commuter corridor near Times Square.

“At this moment, not guilty,” Ullah said when U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan asked for his plea to a six-count indictment that was announced on Wednesday.

Ullah, 27, a Bangladeshi man from Brooklyn, was in Bellevue hospital recovering from injuries inflicted by his own pipe bomb when he first appeared before a judge in December, so Thursday’s appearance marked his first time in court.

He injured three people in addition to himself when the bomb exploded on Dec. 11, and was arrested at the scene. The government said he later described himself as an adherent of the Islamic State group, and was angry about U.S. policies in the Mideast.

On the morning of the blast he posted a Facebook message saying, “Trump you failed to protect your nation.”

Prosecutors at the hearing said they had hundreds of pages of materials — including emails and social media messages, post-arrest statements, bomb parts and surveillance video showing the blast — to turn over to the defense, and estimated Ullah’s trial would last one to two weeks.

Sullivan scheduled the next hearing in the case for April to allow defense lawyers to review the evidence and plan motions. He has not yet set a trial date.

Defense lawyer Amy Gallicchio said Ullah, who is now held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center federal jail in Manhattan, needed medical attention for painful stitches that were “embedded” in his skin and for a medical dressing that hadn’t been changed recently.

She asked Sullivan to order jail officials to attend to the medical problems, but he told her to take it up with federal Bureau of Prison officials first.

Federal authorities on Wednesday released a six-count indictment charging Ullah with providing material support to the Islamic State, use of a weapon of mass destruction, bombing a public transport system, committing a terrorist attack against a mass transport system, destruction of public property with an explosive and using a destructive device in a crime of violence.

 

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