A former high-level Obama administration intelligence official has guaranteed the $250,000 bail for the New York City lawyer who allegedly firebombed an unoccupied NYPD police cruiser early Saturday, calling the suspect her "best friend," Fox News has confirmed.
The Washington Free Beacon first reported that Salmah Rizvi, who served in the Defense Department and State Department during the Obama administration, went to bat for Urooj Rahman, who was arrested this weekend alongside Pryor Cashman associate Colinford Mattis.
Rizvi, an associate at the law firm Ropes & Gray, told the court: "Urooj Rahman is my best friend and I am an associate at the law firm Ropes & Gray in Washington, D.C. ... I earn $255,000 a year."
The Free Beacon noted that, according to her biography at the Islamic Scholarship Fund, Rizvi's "high-value work would often inform the president's daily briefs." Rizvi's biography on Ropes & Gray's website states that she was an analyst "focusing primarily on sanctioned finance operations."
Rizvi also received a scholarship supported by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a radical anti-Israel group, and was a fellow at a legal organization that supports boycotting Israel. In 2009, the FBI severed its once-close ties to CAIR amid mounting evidence that the group had links to a support network for Hamas.
Rizvi additionally received scholarship funds from the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, founded by the brother of left-wing megadonor George Soros.
Rahman and Mattis are charged in the intentional torching of the police cruiser, and could each face up to 20 years in prison. Mattis had been furloughed amid the coronavirus pandemic and is currently suspended without pay from Pryor Cashman, Fox News was told. Both have now made bail.
Evidence in the case appeared strong, the district court judge overseeing the case acknowledged. Prosecutors presented the court a photograph appearing to show Mattis driving a van from which Rahman allegedly hurled a Molotov cocktail at the police cruiser. Although Mattis himself isn't accused of throwing the explosive, authorities said they later found additional incendiary devices in the car -- and prosecutors argue he was knowingly instrumental to the attack.
As a result, prosecutors strenuously objected to the decision by U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie to grant bail and release the attorneys on home detention with GPS monitoring devices. Prosecutors said Mattis, for example, has "not demonstrated himself to be a rational person" and that "bomb-throwers" should not be released back onto the streets amid continuing demonstrations.
“The conduct was reckless, it was violent, it was completely lawless,” the judge said, before noting that the pair had a stable social circle and would be confined to their homes.
The government immediately appealed Brodie's decision to release the lawyers. On Friday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overruled Brodie and granted the government a stay of Brodie's ruling pending appeal, and U.S. Marshals took Mattis and Rahman back into custody.
The news that highly educated attorneys were participating in violent protests has stunned the legal community and New Yorkers in general. The development raised questions as to how attorneys with promising futures became interested in pursuing violent forms of protest.
Fox News has obtained and reviewed communications from Yale Law School's internal message board, known as "The Wall," which seemingly indicate that disdain for American institutions isn't uncommon among elite legal programs. Yale Law School is one of the nation's most prestigious professional schools, and routinely sends apparently anti-American alumni into prominent positions in government and private practice.
For example, Ropes & Gray, the firm where Rizvi currently works, also employs Jordan Bryant -- an associate who previously declared on "The Wall" that she hopes America is burned "to the ground."
"F--k the United States," Bryant wrote to the internal message board available to all of her Yale Law School classmates in 2014, amid the protests surrounding Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Mo. Brown was killed after assaulting a store clerk and charging at a police officer; a federal investigation by the Obama administration didn't support widespread claims that Brown had said, "Hands up, don't shoot."
Bryant continued: "A system cannot fail those it was not meant to protect. We came here as slave labor upon which the glittering promise of this land was built, and it will never grow to accommodate us as anything but a dehumanized other. The stench of the putrefaction of poorly-buried bodies murdered in the name of freedom (read white freedom) has not dissipated in 400 years."
"Why do we remain here, where we are so clearly unwanted?" Bryant added. "It's time for a mass exodus. I am a citizen of this place name only; my nationality is not American as far as I am concerned. Black people, use the US for a passport and nothing else. Mine this den of hypocrisy for the privileges it can afford you, and shun it otherwise. I pray for Michael Brown's family, but do not pray for this country. Indeed, I hope we burn it to the ground."
Bryant's biography on Ropes & Gray's website states that she was a "Fox Fellow" at Moscow State University, where she studied "race relations."
A handful of Yale classmates attempted to challenge Bryant's comments on "The Wall," and were immediately rebuffed en masse by multiple other students for committing "microaggressions" against a "person of color," documents reviewed by Fox News showed.
Presented with Bryant's comments on Wednesday, Ropes & Gray said they don't reflect the firm's values.
"Ropes & Gray was built on the foundation of human rights, dignity and equality," a firm spokesperson told Fox News. "We continue to maintain those core values and our commitment to freedom, justice and equality under the laws of the United States. Acts of racism, violence and hatred have no place in our society -- and we strongly condemn them. The statements made are inconsistent with our values as a firm. Words that might incite others to violence have no place in our civil discourse."
Over the weekend, New York University Law School, where both Rizvi and Mattis received their law degrees, issued a statement through its dean, Trevor Morrison. Morrison condemned systemic violence against black Americans and suggested ways that students could help them: "Change will not come easily, but problems of criminal justice, racial justice, and fair policing are deep societal problems that demand attention," Morrison wrote.
"As lawyers, professors, students, and citizens of the world, we all have both an opportunity and an obligation to seek solutions," Morrison continued. "We stand together. And together we can help make real and lasting change."
NYU Law School's statement did not mention violence against store owners or police, including the alleged firebombing of the NYPD cruiser by one of its alumni. When pressed by Fox News on the omission, the law school eventually issued a new statement that included a condemnation of violence against police and protesters.
“It is deeply regrettable that, amidst the peaceful demonstrations of the past week, some have resorted to violence, but it would be inappropriate for the Law School to comment on allegations against specific individuals," the law school responded.
For his part, Obama has praised the "transformative" protests in the wake of Floyd's death.