Sayfullo Saipov’s court-appointed defense attorney said in the opening statements of his terrorism trial on Monday that Sayfullo Saipov, the man accused of using a rented truck to fatally strike eight people on a New York City bike path in 2017, became radicalized by viewing ISIS videos online and continues to believe he had a religious duty to carry out the attack. Saipov’s lawyer David Patton stated, “And as we sit here today, he still believes that he still believes the ISIS messaging, and he still feels it was God’s will that he do what he did.”
In connection with the deadliest terrorist assault on New York since 9/11, Saipov has entered a not-guilty plea to 28 counts in federal court, including eight counts of murder, 18 counts of attempted murder, and additional terrorism-related crimes. He could receive the death penalty if found guilty. Under President Joe Biden, who had previously promised to abolish the death penalty at the federal level, the trial is the first federal death penalty case to be tried.
The accusations are related to the incident on Halloween 2017 when Saipov is accused of ramming a U-Haul truck into pedestrians and bikers on Manhattan’s West Side bike path. According to authorities, he then fled the truck while brandishing a paintball and pellet gun after crashing the vehicle into a school bus. According to officials, he was shot by an NYPD officer and taken into custody.
According to a criminal complaint, he allegedly admitted to authorities that he had planned the attack for nearly a year and had been motivated by ISIS propaganda.
Photos of Sayfullo Saipov taken in October 2016 following his arrest in St. Charles County, Missouri. According to a county prison sergeant, Saipov was jailed following a driving infraction in St. Charles County on an outstanding warrant from another jurisdiction.
Prosecutor Alexander Li described how Saipov used a rented U-Haul truck as his weapon to create a scene of “devastation” and “horror” in court on Monday.
After thereafter, according to Li, Saipov was “eager” to reveal his terrorist strategy to federal officials.
He revealed to the FBI agents his attack strategy and preparation methods. He admitted to them that his intention was to murder as many people as he could. He said that the defendant carried out an attack after the ISIS chief requested one, Li added.
Li reported that during an interrogation with federal authorities in the hospital, Saipov grinned at the thought of his assault. According to the prosecutor, he also requested to fly an ISIS flag in his hospital room at the time.
According to the prosecutor, Saipov is still loyal to ISIS. In taped jail conversations made in the years following the assault, he has allegedly revealed to family members that he is an ISIS soldier. The defense admits he committed the assault.
Saipov’s defense lawyer, Patton, did not contest that he was the attacker and concentrated his opening remarks on Saipov’s motivations and ties to ISIS.
Saipov’s acts were “senseless,” the attorney said, adding, “We will not provide you with an explanation for why he did what he did.”
ISIS provided the defendant with inspiration, but the terrorist group did not assist him in carrying out the assault, Patton claimed.
Patton recognized that ISIS leaders took credit for Saipov’s act two days after it happened, but the defense lawyer claimed that the terrorist organization frequently assigns blame for violent incidents that are not verified as having been committed by ISIS by law enforcement.
Following an incident in New York on October 31, 2017, a detective uses his phone to capture images close to a pickup truck.
In what authorities called a “cowardly act of terror,” a pickup driver mowed down pedestrians and cyclists before slamming into a school bus, killing eight people in New York on Tuesday. The attack occurred in broad daylight and was the nation’s financial and entertainment hub’s first terrorist-related fatality since September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda hijackings brought down the Twin Towers. Eleven other people suffered significant injuries.
According to records, the terrorist intended to carry out an attack on pedestrians on the Brooklyn Bridge. “He did not anticipate walking away from this attack and becoming a member of ISIS or any organization,” Patton said. “He anticipated dying,” According to the public defender, Saipov was not in any way connected to ISIS at the time of the incident.
When Saipov was initially influenced by ISIS’s propaganda, Patton called the extremist group’s media activities “advanced” and ahead of their time. He also provided the jury with a background of ISIS’s media operation and distribution network.
He did it because he had spent many hours engaged in the internet and social media messaging of ISIS, including chat groups, audio and video content, and other materials. Additionally, he had grown to believe that carrying out a martyrdom attack was his religious duty, Patton added.
Saipov’s lawyer claimed that during extended solitary shifts as a long-haul truck driver, the man grew radicalized after absorbing extremist content. Although he was raised in Uzbekistan where the culture is predominantly Muslim, Patton claimed that neither he nor his family members are followers of ISIS.
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