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New York lawyer turned terrorist trying to avoid prison after firebombing NYPD vehicle

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Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Two leftist New York City lawyers were arrested on May 30, 2020, for firebombing an NYPD vehicle amid the BLM riots, during which more than 2,000 police officers were injured. Earlier this month, one of the terrorists requested a commutation of her sentence, suggesting that "her otherwise exemplary life" should excuse her from a further prison term.

At the time of the Pakistan-born terrorist's arrest, U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue stated, "No rational human being can ever believe that hurling firebombs at Police Officers and vehicles is ever justified. The Eastern District of New York will ... ensure that criminals who use the camouflage of lawful protest to launch violent attacks against Police Officers face justice."

If the terrorist, 33-year-old Urooj Rahman, gets her way, then Donoghue's assurances that justice will be meted out may soon ring hollow.

While originally slated to stand for sentencing on September 29, Rahman was also granted a new date so that her mother could be present. Her fate will now be determined on November 9, 2022, one month after her co-conspirator's sentencing.

The terrorist and the bombing

Rahman, a so-called human rights attorney, was admitted to the New York state bar in June 2019 after graduating from Fordham University School of Law. The school's Leitner Center indicated that she had worked as a foreign lawyer in Turkey to "assist and empower" refugees who had fled there.

A member of the American Muslim Bar Association, Rahman is a vociferous critic of Israel, having both penned articles criticizing the nation and taken part in anti-Israeli protests in the West Bank.

In 2014, she undertook an internship at Israel-based Mada Al-Carmel's Arab Center for Applied Social Research, which is funded by George Soros' Open Society Institute.

After returning to her adopted country, Rahman lived with her mother and worked at Bronx Legal Services.

She has not only been a committed supporter of Democrat Sen. Bernie Sanders, but also supported local Democrat politicians, having worked on Bob Gangi's failed New York City mayoral campaign.

In May, 2020, Rahman was caught on surveillance video — her face visible despite her Palestinian keffiyeh — throwing an explosive device into an unoccupied police cruiser in the vicinity of the NYPD's 88th Precinct in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. She returned to the minivan belonging to her co-conspirator, 34-year-old Colinford Mattis, and the two fled the scene.

Police chased and ultimately stopped the van on Willoughby Street. Inside the van, officers found multiple other explosives devices. According to their detention memo, the terroristic duo had allegedly attempted to "distribute Molotov cocktails ... in furtherance of more destruction and violence."

In an interview taken that night and published on June 5, 2020, Rahman justified the the BLM riots and the leftist violence she had participated in. "This sh** won't ever stop unless we f****** take it all down."

She emphasized, "The only way they hear us is through violence."

When asked about violence committed against police, Rahman answered: "I think it's understandable. ... It's a way to show their pain, their anger." She suggested that the city's mayor should have withdrawn police officers and that having not done so opened them up to danger.

Rahman was bailed out by former Obama intelligence official attorney Salmah Rizvi.

Guilty

In June, Rahman and Mattis withdrew earlier guilty pleas for possessing and making explosive devices (i.e., firebombs), instead entering guilty pleas for conspiracy to commit arson and possession of an explosive device. They also evaded a "terrorism enhancement," which would have had them spend decades in prison.

The deal they struck with prosecutors this summer will ensure they won't serve more than two years in jail.

After Rahman's and Mattis' post-terror attack capture, FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said, "Behavior like the attacks charged here puts our entire community — protestors and first responders alike — in danger, and we will simply not allow it to go unaddressed."

Sweeney likely did not anticipate that the "severe" consequences he had hoped for would amount to no more than several months and potentially time served.

Rahman has since been on home detention and wearing an electronic monitoring device.

Request for commutation

According to court filings obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Rahman's legal representatives asked Judge Brian Cogan of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York to let the terrorist off with "time served."

Citing a psychological evaluation by Dr. Leslie Lebowitz indicating that Urooj "is gravely compromised," attorneys Rita Maxwell and Peter Baldwin suggested that the September 11, 2001, Islamic terror attacks on the United States resulted in Rahman's harassment, which allegedly produced in the terrorist "incapacitating depression, panic, and uncontrollable obsessional thinking."

Notwithstanding the interview above, taken the night of the bombing, in which Rahman appeared coherent, the court filing suggested that Rahman had drunk vodka on an empty stomach, which "further clouded her judgment."

The document also claimed that Rahman, who suggested that the only way to be heard is through violence, "is no radical" and "not a terrorist."

In texts read by prosecutor Ian Richardson in the duo's first plea hearing, Rahman allegedly wrote: "Molotovs rollin' ... I hope they burn everything down. Need to burn all police stations down and probably the courts too."

"One isolated act committed on a night when passions ran wild should not define a person," wrote Maxwell and Baldwin. "Tossing the Molotov cocktail was a way of expressing anger."

The dean of Fordham Law School, John Feerick, suggested that her felony conviction "will cause her to lose her law license for more than seven years" and intimated that losing the license was substantial enough punishment.

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