Tuesday, 21 May, 2019

Lawyers: NYC bike path attack defendant willing to plead guilty

KFGO Midwest Communications graphic KFGO Midwest Communications graphic
Patty Aguilar | 18 January, 2018, 21:33

In the filing, Saipov's attorneys say that with the amount of discovery the government has already produced in the case and the procedural requirements associated with pursuing a death penalty charge, the case could stretch on for years.

Sayfullo Saipov, accused of mowing down eight people with a rented van on the Hudson River bike path last Halloween in an Islamist terror attack, says he is willing to plead guilty in exchange for not receiving the death penalty.

In a letter to a federal judge in Manhattan Wednesday, attorneys for the 29-year-old Uzbeki national said a decision by the government not to seek the death penalty "would bring immediate closure to the case without the need for the public and victims to repeatedly relive the awful events of October 31, 2017".

He pleaded not guilty on November 28 but is now offering to reverse that plea.

"The most straightforward way to achieve closure would be for the Government to accept a plea of guilty and a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole", Patton wrote.

The office of interim U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in Manhattan, which is prosecuting the case, is expected to make a recommendation on whether to seek the death penalty, though the final decision will be made by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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Photo Federal prosecutors have not yet said whether they will pursue the death penalty against Sayfullo Saipov, who was indicted on eight capital counts and other charges in the October 31 bike path attack in Manhattan.

President Trump has taken a close interest in the case.

Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant who came to the US legally in 2010 and who lived in Paterson, New Jersey, was charged with eight counts of murder-in-aid of racketeering, 12 counts of attempted murder-in-aid of racketeering, providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and violence and destruction of motor vehicles.

But Jimmy Drake - the father of Darren Drake, a New Jersey man killed in the attack - told CBS New York: "Killing that man won't bring my son back".

The letter from Saipov's defense lawyers came one day after prosecutors urged Broderick to set an April, 2019 trial date for Saipov, arguing that because victims, their families and witnesses were from Argentina, Belgium and Germany a long lead time is needed to assure their availability. "I have no vengeance that I'm seeking".

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