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ISIS-Inspired Attacker Convicted in 8 NYC Deaths

Convicted on all 28 criminal charges in a 2017 attack that killed eight people on a Manhattan bike path, an Uzbek native now faces a possible death sentence in a penalty phase of his trial set to start Feb. 6, the New York Times reports. A federal jury on Thursday found Sayfullo Saipov, 34, guilty of murder in aid of racketeering activity, one for each victim killed, and one count of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle causing death. Those all carry a maximum sentence of death or life imprisonment. He was also convicted of one count of providing material support to a terrorist organization, ISIS, which has a maximum life sentence, and 18 attempted murder counts. David Patton, Saipov's lawyer, did not deny that his client had intentionally driven a truck that caused the deaths and injuries but disputed the government's claim that Saipov attacked in order to become an ISIS member, which Patton indicated was a critical distinction. All but two of the charges say Saipov committed the murders “for the purpose of gaining entrance to ISIS.”

Last year, Saipov’s lawyers asked the Justice Department to withdraw the death penalty request that had been made during the Trump administration. But in September, prosecutors said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland had decided that the government would continue to pursue capital punishment in the case, which authorities have called the deadliest terrorist attack in New York City since Sept. 11, 2001. Saipov said after his arrest that he was inspired to carry out the attack by Islamic State videos that he watched on his phone and that he chose a truck to inflict maximum damage against civilians. The eight fatalities included six tourists, one from Belgium and five from Argentina. The other victims were a 23-year-old software engineer from Manhattan and a 32-year-old financial worker from New Jersey.


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