On Monday, Sayfullo Saipov’s federal terrorism trial will begin with opening statements. He is accused of running over pedestrians with a rented truck on the bike path of a street on Halloween of 2017, killing eight as a result.
An eight-count murder charge and 18 attempted murder charges are among the 28 counts against Saipov in connection with the deadly terrorist attack.
The charges against him qualify him for the death penalty, but he has pleaded not guilty. Saipov’s trial will be the first federal capital case heard under Biden – who had previously pledged to get rid of the death penalty at the federal level.
Government surveillance of NYC terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov lasted three years before his alleged attack.
Saipov struck cyclists and pedestrians on a bike path. The driver crashed into a school bus and fled the truck, authorities said at the time. An NYPD officer shot him and took him into custody, officials said.
According to a criminal complaint, Saipov plotted the attack for nearly a year. He also chose Halloween as the date of his attack because he thought there would be more people on the streets.
His plan was to use the truck to hit pedestrians in the area where the attack took place and then continue to strike pedestrians on the Brooklyn Bridge.
The criminal complaint states Saipov told investigators he was inspired by ISIS videos to use a truck. He chose the vehicle “to inflict maximum damage against civilians.”
Prosecutors claim Saipov also wanted to display ISIS flags on the truck during the attack, but decided against it to avoid drawing attention.
During the investigation, investigators found about 90 videos and 3,800 pictures on his cell phone, including ISIS propaganda. Video recordings found on Saipov’s phone included pictures of ISIS fighters beheading prisoners and making homemade improvised explosive devices.
A complaint says Saipov told investigators he was satisfied with what he had done and requested to hang an ISIS flag in his hospital room.