Bangladeshi immigrant goes on trial in subway attack

October 29, 2018 - 7:40 pm

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Bangladeshi immigrant on trial on charges he planned a New York City subway attack to support the Islamic State group was in court Monday as jury selection got underway.

Akayed Ullah, 28, stood up and turned slightly toward about 75 potential jurors when he was introduced in Manhattan federal court.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Sullivan made the introduction of Ullah along with lawyers and others aiding the defense and prosecution teams to learn whether anyone in the jury pool knew any of them. They did not.

The judge also described the six-count indictment charging Ullah with trying to support the Islamic State group by attempting to bomb the subway station on 42nd Street near Times Square.

He told possible jurors that Ullah was presumed innocent and said he was seeking jurors who could decide the case based only on the evidence heard in the courtroom, rather than reports about the incident they might have seen prior to Monday. The trial is likely to last about two weeks.

Ullah was arrested last December after a pipe bomb exploded Dec. 11 in a pedestrian walkway near Times Square.

Authorities said Ullah was the only person seriously wounded by burns when the crude pipe bomb went off.

Sullivan queried the potential jurors to ensure they were not affected by reports of bomb-laden packages sent last week to critics of President Donald Trump.

The questioning will continue Tuesday with an expectation that opening statements would begin around midday.

The trial is occurring in a large courtroom where other terrorism trials took place during the last quarter century.