Tags: US | Times | Square | Car | Bomb

Times Square Car Bomb Suspect Appears in NY Court

Tuesday, 18 May 2010 06:15 PM

 

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The suspect in a botched car bombing in Times Square appeared in court Tuesday on terrorism and weapons charges for the first time since his arrest two weeks ago, muttering one word about an affidavit on his finances.

Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistan-born U.S. citizen, said "yes" when asked to confirm the affidavit. Shahzad, 30, his hair a bit longer than in photos splashed around the world, was led out court in a gray sweat suit after a 10-minute hearing.

He did not enter a plea to five felony charges against him.

Magistrate Judge James C. Francis read him his rights, including his right to remain silent, and warned him that anything he might say could be used against him.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Jackson asked that Shahzad be detained without bail. His attorney, assistant public defender Julia Gatto, agreed, saying she was not prepared to argue for bail.

Gatto asked during the hearing if Shahzad could be provided with halal meals in custody. She didn't comment afterward and didn't immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Authorities say Shahzad, an ex-budget analyst from Bridgeport, Conn., had voluntarily waived his rights to an initial court appearance while he was cooperating.

Shahzad, of Bridgeport, Conn., was arrested May 3 on a Dubai-bound plane at John F. Kennedy International Airport on charges he drove an SUV rigged with a homemade car bomb into Times Square two nights earlier, sending thousands of tourists into a panic on a busy Saturday night. The bomb didn't explode, and no one was hurt.

The U.S. attorney's office said Tuesday Shahzad is charged with attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and attempting acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, each carrying a maximum life term.

He's charged with using a destructive device in an attempted violent crime, punishable by up to 30 years in prison; transporting and receiving explosives, punishable by up to 10 years; and attempting to damage and destroy property with fire and explosives, punishable by up to five years.

Since his arrest, Shahzad "has provided valuable intelligence from which further investigative action has been taken," the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan said in a statement Tuesday.

Authorities said shortly after Shahzad's arrest that he had admitted driving the SUV bomb into Times Square and told authorities he had received terror training during a recent five-month trip to Pakistan.

"The investigation into the attempted Times Square bombing continues," the U.S. attorney's office said.

Federal authorities raided locations in three states last week and picked up on immigration violations three men who are suspected of providing money to Shahzad to help build the homemade bomb of fireworks, propane and battery-operated alarm clocks.

Officials in Pakistan have taken several people into custody, including two men arrested last week on suspicion of helping finance the failed plot.

CIA Director Leon Panetta and retired Gen. James Jones, President Barack Obama's national security adviser, were in Pakistan meeting with officials there on the failed Times Square bombing and the terrorist safe havens where the suspect is believed to have received training.

In light of the attack, said National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer, "we believe that it is time to redouble our efforts with our allies in Pakistan to close this safe haven and create an environment where we and the Pakistani people can lead safe and productive lives."

One U.S. official said the trip is not confined to the Times Square bombing issues but noted that the emphasis is on cooperation between the U.S. and Pakistan and what both countries need to do to keep pressure on the extremists in that region. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the meetings.

Shahzad appeared in court on the same day a New York defense attorney wrote a letter to a chief federal court judge demanding he be produced.

Ron Kuby accused authorities of violating Shahzad's rights by "squeezing him for information" in secret. He argued that federal authorities — by holding Shahzad for "an unprecedented third week of captivity" — were violating criminal procedures requiring suspects to be promptly presented in court.

"A suspect buried in the bowels of a Manhattan version of Guantanamo ... is essentially without power to compel the government to comply" with the procedures, he wrote.

Without an appearance, "there is no reason to think the waiver is voluntary," Kuby wrote.

——

Associated Press writer Larry Neumeister in New York and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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