An unrepentant, homegrown Islamic terrorist was sentenced to multiple life terms behind bars Tuesday for setting off a time bomb that injured 31 people in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood as part of a planned wave of attacks across NY and New Jersey.
"I grew up amongst you guys, when I started following (my religion), practicing it".
Rahimi's sentencing attorney Xavier Donaldson failed to sway the court with his proposed sentence of 180 months.
The first explosion, on September 17, occurred along the route of a charity 5K race in Seaside Park, New Jersey.
"One thing a life sentence does is to make sure you don't do it again", Berman said.
Rahimi, known as the "Chelsea Bomber", was found guilty on eight charges in late 2017. One life term was mandatory but the judge exercised his discretion by imposing life sentences for counts that Rahimi's defense lawyer said deserved only a 15-year sentence.
On Monday, in an interview with WNBC, Rahimi's father called his son a terrorist, but said Rahimi is glad no one died in the incidents.
He was convicted last October.
"Since his arrest, Mr. Rahimi has completed classes in business, entrepreneurship and drama while in BOP (Federal Bureau of Prisons) custody", the letter said.
Using fingerprints found inside the unexploded devices, authorities tied the Afghan-born US citizen to a series of bombings that injured 30 across the area. The bomb left along the Seaside Park boardwalk was a pipe bomb stuffed in a trash can; the NY bombs were "pressure cooker" style devices. He went on to place a homemade bomb - packed into a pressure cooker and wired to a flip-phone detonator - on a stretch of the Chelsea neighborhood's West 23rd Street, busy with pedestrians on a warm Saturday night. The other bomb, four blocks north, was discovered and rendered safe before it could explode.
Police also defused another device in Chelsea and found additional pipe bombs in Rahimi's hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, where he worked in his family's fried chicken restaurant.
During the trial, the prosecution presented evidence - including DNA and fingerprints - linking Rahimi to the bombs that were placed in New Jersey and NY. Rahimi and two police officers were wounded in the shootout.