Accused Chelsea bomber Ahmad Khan Rahimi was not acting on behalf of ties to any terrorist organization when he set detonated bombs in New York and New Jersey last September, his legal team said Tuesday.
Rahimi, his lawyers said, has not been charged with being a terrorist or having a connection to any terror organization, according to the New York Post.
Additionally, his lawyers argued against the inclusion of a terrorism expert when the trial for Rahimi, a 29-year-old Afghan-born U.S. citizen, begins this fall, The Associated Press reported.
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Having such an expert would “add on to the indictment this gloss of terrorism,” said Sabrina Shroff, Rahimi’s assistant federal defender. They want to inject that into a case that is already volatile enough.”
Manhattan federal Judge Richard Berman is expected to rule on the terrorism issue on Thursday.
Rahimi is accused of detonating a pipe bomb in Seaside Park, New Jersey, on Sept. 17, 2016. No one was injured in the explosion, which went off at a 5K run, and two other undetonated pipe bombs were later found nearby.
Later that day, a shrapnel-filled pressure cooker bomb exploded in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, injuring 31 people. A second pressure cooker device was found under a mailbox about four blocks from the blast site later that night, which was also filled with shrapnel.
On Sept. 18, two pipe bombs were found in an Elizabeth, New Jersey, train station by two men, who alerted authorities.
Rahimi was later identified by surveillance footage and fingerprints on pressure cooker bombs in Manhattan. After a “Wanted” poster was shared by authorities on Sept. 19, a bar owner in Linden, New Jersey, identified Rahimi as the man sleeping in the doorway of his establishment and alerted police.
After authorities arrived on the scene, a shootout ensued, leaving Rahimi and two officers injured in the gunfire.
A notebook found on Rahimi at the time of his arrest after the shootout allegedly cited Osama bin Laden and others, including Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who was convicted in the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, that left 13 dead, as inspration for his actions.