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Closing arguments made in trial of Sayfullo Saipov, accused in deadly 2017 West Side Highway terror attack

Closing arguments made in trial of Sayfullo Saipov
Closing arguments made in trial of Sayfullo Saipov 02:12

NEW YORK -- Closing arguments were made Tuesday in the terror trial of Sayfullo Saipov.

He's accused of mowing down and killing eight people on the West Side bike path back on Halloween 2017. He says he carried out the attack in the name of ISIS, yet his defense says he has no real connection to the terrorist group.

In its three-hour closing argument, the prosecution pointed to a mountain of evidence against the 34-year-old, explaining how he turned a "bike path into his battlefield" by following the ISIS terror playbook -- using a 6,000-pound rental truck, targeting a crowded area and even carrying a confession with him to the crime.

Saipov has admitted to driving onto the bike path at Pier 40 and mowing down cyclists, killing eight and injuring even more.

READ MORE: Witnesses, first responders, FBI agents and more testify as trial of Sayfullo Saipov enters third week

A crash expert testified Saipov appeared to be speeding upwards of nearly 60 mph. Saipov told investigators he intended to keep going to the Brooklyn Bridge but hit some poles and a school bus.

He got out, waving fake guns and yelling "Allahu akbar." He was eventually shot by a police officer.

His defense attorneys argue Saipov thought he would die during the attack and therefore couldn't be trying to become a member of ISIS.

An expert who studies jihadist groups explained on the stand, whether you live or die during an attack, ISIS considers you a member or martyr of its organization all the same.

In the hospital, Saipov asked to hang an ISIS flag in the room. Pointing to a prison notebook seized just last year, the prosecution showed his ISIS drawings.

In a recorded prison phone call with his mother, he said he was a soldier of the caliphate.

READ MORE: Prosecutors say Sayfullo Saipov followed ISIS playbook in deadly 2017 West Side Highway terror attack

The defense called no witnesses and rested its case after entering a couple of things into evidence.

Saipov did not testify despite speaking out in court during a 2018 appearance.

Though they say he was willing to die during the 2017 attack, they are trying to spare him the death penalty, even offering he plead guilty to avoid it, which was rejected.

He's now pleaded not guilty to the 28-count indictment against him. The defense filed a motion and argued for acquittal, but that was denied.

READ MORE: New video evidence allegedly shows deadly West Side Highway bike path attack suspect Sayfullo Saipov running with guns

The defense argues Saipov was motivated by religion, not ISIS. 

Saipov, who usually wears a green sweater in court, was in a suit Tuesday.

The jury should get the case Wednesday.

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