The accused Port Authority bomber told a Manhattan federal judge Thursday that he was pleading not guilty in the case — at least for now.
When Judge Richard Sullivan asked failed alleged suicide bomber Akayed Ullah for his plea, the suspect replied, “At this moment, not guilty.”
The Bangladeshi-born suspect was indicted Wednesday for allegedly detonating a faulty bomb last month, only seriously injuring himself.
Ullah showed up in court in person for the first time Thursday, having previously only appeared before a judge by video from a hospital bed after his arrest.
Ullah, 27, is charged with six counts for the Dec. 11 attack in the bus terminal, including providing material support to a terrorist organization, using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use and public transportation.
Ullah’s lawyer, Amy Gallichio, told Sullivan that Ullah — who took care to sit down in the court room gently — was still recovering, saying, “[Some] stiches remain embedded in his skin, causing him a great deal of discomfort.”
Prosecutor George Turner said prosecutors had gathered materials for the case including surveillance videos, photos from the crime scene, DNA evidence, statements that Ullah made to officials after his arrest, postings from his social-media accounts, e-mails, MetroCard data, and phone records. Turner estimated that if the case went to trial, it would likely take one to two weeks.
Outside of court, Gallicchio, said, “When we have an indictment containing charges like this, I think it’s easy to lose sight of the important and invaluable rights that every person is afforded in our system of justice, including Mr. Ullah.”
Gallicchio did not respond to questions about Ullah’s odd plea, which seemed to leave the door open for a plea agreement at a later date.
Ullah is due back in court April 13.