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Bangladeshi immigrant convicted of terrorism charges in NYC subway bombing

NEW YORK -- Akayed Ullah, a Bangladeshi immigrant who set off a pipe bomb in New York City's busiest subway station at rush hour, was convicted Tuesday of terrorism charges. After the verdict was announced and the jury left the room, Ullah spoke out, telling the judge: "I was angry with Donald Trump because he says he will bomb the Middle East and then he will protect his nation."

Judge Richard Sullivan told him: "Right now is not the time for a statement."   

The verdict capped a weeklong trial that featured surveillance video of Ullah on the morning when his pipe bomb sputtered, seriously burning him in a subway corridor beneath Times Square and the Port Authority bus terminal on December 11, 2017. The defense maintained that he intended to kill only himself. Nobody died and most of the injuries were not serious. 

Prosecutors disputed the defense claim, saying Ullah would not have worn a bomb had he wanted to kill only himself. They said he wanted to maim or kill commuters as part of a "lone wolf" terrorist attack on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

They also cited social media postings by Ullah as well as comments he made after his arrest to investigators. He taunted President Trump on Facebook before the attack. 

Authorities said Ullah's radicalization began in 2014 when he started viewing materials online, including a video instructing ISIS supporters to carry out attacks in their homelands.

In closing arguments Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney George Turner said Ullah told investigators after his arrest that he wanted to avenge U.S. aggression toward ISIS and had chosen a busy weekday morning to attack so he could terrorize as many people as possible.

The prosecutor said Ullah, 28, of Brooklyn, followed the propaganda of ISIS online and wanted to follow its instructions to carry out a "lone wolf" terror attack on Americans. "His goal was to injure and kill innocent civilians, to terrorize," Turner said.

The prosecutor said Ullah told an investigator after his arrest: "I did it for the Islamic State."

Gallicchio, though, said Ullah purposefully chose an isolated corridor to set off his bomb because he only wanted to commit suicide. "This is not a terrorist attack," she argued.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn Crowley disputed the claim. "It was about martyrdom, not suicide," she said. 

Ullah was indicted on five counts in the attack, including providing material support to terrorists and using a weapon of mass destruction. He pleaded not guilty in January, CBS New York reported.

He was hospitalized with serious burns after the attack. Five other people suffered minor injuries.