- Sayfullo Saipov, the man accused of killing eight last month in a truck attack in New York City, has been indicted by a federal grand jury.
- He is charged with murder and attempted murder in the aid of racketeering activity, providing material support to ISIS, and violence and destruction of a motor vehicle.
A federal grand jury has indicted Sayfullo Saipov, the 29-year-old Uzbeki national accused of killing eight and injuring 11 when he rammed a truck into cyclists and pedestrians in lower Manhattan last month.
Saipov faces 22 federal charges, including eight counts of murder in the aid of racketeering activity, 11 counts of attempted murder in the aid of racketeering activity, one count of providing material support and resources to the terrorist group ISIS, and one count of violence and destruction of motor vehicles.
“As alleged in this indictment, Sayfullo Saipov murdered eight innocent people and injured many more in a calculated act of terrorism in the heart of one of our great cities,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said a statement. “People have a right to safety walking down a footpath or riding a bike, and we will not change our resolve to confront these threats both at home and abroad.”
The deadly attack began in the afternoon of October 31, when prosecutors say Saipov drove a rented Home Depot pickup truck onto a busy Manhattan bike lane, veering into his victims and colliding with a school bus before jumping out and brandishing two guns that were later determined by police to be fake.
Saipov was arrested after being shot by a police officer shortly after the crash. He waived his Miranda rights verbally and spoke to law enforcement officials about the attack, according to a criminal complaint released earlier this month.
Saipov admitted to authorities that he wrote a note found near the crashed truck, which was written in Arabic and said the Islamic State would endure forever, according to the complaint.
He said he was was motivated to carry out the attack after watching a video featuring ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi asking what Muslims in the US were doing to respond to the killing of Muslims in Iraq.
Saipov also asked during his interview with authorities if he could display the ISIS flag in his hospital room after the attack. He told them that “he felt good about what he had done,” the complaint said.
Each of the counts Saipov faces carries a maximum sentence of the death penalty, although it’s unclear whether federal prosecutors will seek it.
President Donald Trump caused an small uproar shortly after the attack when he publicly called for capital punishment in Saipov’s case. Legal experts lamented that such a demand could taint a jury pool or otherwise undermine the work of both the prosecutors and Saipov’s defence team.
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