A former high-level Obama administration intelligence official has guaranteed the bail for the New York City lawyer who is accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at an NYPD vehicle. Salmah Rizvi, who worked in both the Departments of State and Defense, told the judge that the firebombing suspect is her "best friend."
Urooj Rahman was one of three people arrested this weekend, who were accused of trying to destroy NYPD vehicles. According to charging documents, Rahman tossed a Molotov cocktail at an empty police cruiser that was parked outside the 88th Precinct station house in Fort Greene around 1 a.m. Saturday.
Surveillance video captured Rahman getting into a tan van driven by Colinford Mattis, a furloughed associate of the York-based law firm Pryor Cashman and a member of Community Board 5 in East New York. Police arrested the two suspects after a brief chase in Brooklyn. In the van, police found a lighter, a bottle filled with toilet paper, and a gas tank.
Rahman was also accused of distributing incendiary devices to other rioters. Rahman and Mattis were charged with intentionally damaging a police vehicle with fire and explosives. They both face mandatory minimum sentences of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison. Rahman's bail was set at $250,000.
Rahman, 31, is registered as an attorney in New York state and graduated from Fordham University School of Law. Rahman is friends with Rizvi, who served in the Defense Department and State Department during the Obama administration and currently an associate at the law firm Ropes & Gray, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
"Urooj Rahman is my best friend, and I am an associate at the law firm Ropes & Gray in Washington, D.C.," Rizvi told the judge, according to a transcript of the proceedings. "I earn $255,000 a year."
Rizvi agreed to be a surety for Rahman's bail, making her liable for the entire $250,000 amount if Rahman fails to obey the court's orders. U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie granted Rahman bail due to the "willingness of family and friends to sign on as suretors," according to Law360.
"The conduct was reckless, it was violent, it was completely lawless," Judge Brodie said of the firebombers, who both attended New York University Law School.
"We don't believe this is the time to be releasing a bomb-thrower like the defendant into the community," federal prosecutor Ian Richardson said.
"Home detention secured by the financial well-being of his entire family and several high-earning colleagues and friends should be an adequate deterrent to further danger to the community," Judge Steven Gold said.
Rahman will be detained at home and fitted with a GPS monitoring device. Mattis, the Princeton-educated attorney, was also approved for release on $250,000 bond and home detention, pending trial.
According to her biography on the Ropes & Gray's website, "Salmah is an associate in the litigation & enforcement practice group."
"Salmah also maintains an active civil rights and human rights pro bono practice, focused on prison reform, LGBTQ equality, and immigration," the site adds. "She represents asylum seekers at various stages of litigation."
The Washington Free Beacon also noted that Rizvi received scholarship funds from the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, which was founded by the now-deceased brother of billionaire and left-wing financier George Soros.
While attending New York University School of Law, Rizvi was a fellow at the Palestinian-based legal organization Al-Haq, which was founded to challenge the "legal status of Israel as an occupying power."
Rizvi also received a scholarship supported by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR has been criticized for its ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Before her legal career, Rizvi worked as an analyst for the U.S. Departments of State and Defense. Rizvi's biography on the Islamic Scholarship Fund website states: "Salmah also worked full-time for the U.S. Departments of State and Defense as a lead linguist and analyst, mastering multiple foreign languages including Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi and gaining expertise in international security and diplomacy. Her high-value work would often inform the President's Daily Briefs."
The next hearing is June 12.