Sayfullo Saipov, accused of mowing down eight people with a rented van on the Hudson River bike path last Halloween in an Islamist terror attack, says he is willing to plead guilty in exchange for not receiving the death penalty.
Saipov, a 29-year-old ISIS supporter, originally pleaded not guilty. He is currently being held without bail.
A guilty plea would mean that a lengthy trial would be avoided, saving both cost to the government and emotional turmoil to the victims.
“It is deeply traumatic for these bereaved, seriously injured, or otherwise traumatized victims and their families to endure reliving Saipov’s attack by recounting the details, and victims have already expressed to the government concern about delays in this process,” prosecutors wrote.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions would have to sign off on the deal.
The trial itself could not be held any earlier than September 2019 according to Saipov’s lawyers due to the large amount of evidence needed to build the defense. Quite a bit of the evidence is located overseas, they say.
The government requested a trial in April 2019 so that victims – some from as far away as Argentina, Belgium, and Germany — would be able to plan to travel to the U.S.
As far as accepting the request, prosecutors asked the defense to provide any information which would indicate there were mitigating circumstances to the crime. They originally gave the defense three months to gather any relevant information, but Saipov’s lawyers have asked for six months to put together their argument.
What do you think of this case? Take our poll below: