Ahmad Khan Rahami has been arrested, charged as the mastermind of a series of bombings in New York and New Jersey.
SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Wednesday that the first prosecution of alleged Chelsea bomber Ahmad Rahami will be held in Manhattan federal court, and his office has filed a writ to have U.S. Marshals bring Rahami across the river from New Jersey.
“This is the appropriate and right place for the case to proceed initially,” Bharara said, pointing out that although Rahami also left bombs in New Jersey and engaged in a shootout when he was caught, the greatest damage occurred when 29 people were injured by a bomb that exploded on 23rd Street.
Bharara conceded he was unaware of when Rahami would make his way across the Hudson to his courtroom, citing “operational issues” with the marshals, the fact that Rahami is currently in the custody of local officials in New Jersey, and Rahami’s medical condition. He is hospitalized in Newark with gunshot wounds.
“We don’t expect it’ll be very long, but I can’t tell you precisely,” Bharara said.
Terrorism-related charges were filed against Rahami in both New Jersey and New York Tuesday. The chief federal public defender in Manhattan has filed a letter with a magistrate, complaining that Rahami is being questioned by federal agents without a lawyer and needs to be brought to court quickly.
The defender, David Patton, went as far to suggest that Rahami could be presented in court immediately through a videoconference from his hospital room, but Bharara said that technically, he has not been arrested by federal agents and they are not in control of him.
“As a legal matter, the defendant is in the custody of a local authority,” Bharara said.
Bharara also dismissed statements from some in Congress that Rahami should be treated as an “enemy combatant” rather than facing trial in a civilian court with a full array of rights.
“What the law currently allows and dictates … is that we handle it in precisely the way we are handling it,” he said.