Times Square Car Bomb Suspect Appears in NY Court
NEW YORK -- The suspect in a botched car bombing in Times Square appeared in court Tuesday on terrorism and weapons charges for the first time since his arrest two weeks ago, muttering one word about an affidavit on his finances.
Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistan-born U.S. citizen, said "yes" when asked to confirm the affidavit. Shahzad, 30, appeared in court wearing a gray sweat suit and looked calm. He was led out of court Tuesday after a 10-minute appearance and entered no plea to five felony charges against him.
Assistant public defender Julia Gatto identified herself as his attorney. She asked during the hearing if Shahzad could be provided with halal meals in custody. She didn't comment afterward.
Shahzad has been held at an undisclosed location since his May 3 arrest on charges he abandoned a bomb-laden SUV in Times Square near several restaurants and a Broadway theater showing "The Lion King."
Authorities say the ex-budget analyst from Bridgeport, Conn., had voluntarily waived his rights to an initial court appearance while he was cooperating.
Shahzad, of Bridgeport, Conn., was arrested May 3 on a Dubai-bound plane at John F. Kennedy International Airport on charges he drove an SUV rigged with a homemade car bomb into Times Square two nights earlier, sending thousands of tourists into a panic on a busy Saturday night. The bomb didn't explode, and no one was hurt.
The U.S. attorney's office said Tuesday Shahzad is charged with attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and attempting acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, each carrying a maximum life term.
He's charged with using a destructive device in an attempted violent crime, punishable by up to 30 years in prison; transporting and receiving explosives, punishable by up to 10 years; and attempting to damage and destroy property with fire and explosives, punishable by up to five years.
Since his arrest, Shahzad "has provided valuable intelligence from which further investigative action has been taken," the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan said in a statement Tuesday.
Authorities said shortly after Shahzad's arrest that the ex-budget analyst had admitted driving the SUV bomb into Times Square and told authorities he had received terror training during a recent five-month trip to Pakistan.
"The investigation into the attempted Times Square bombing continues," the U.S. attorney's office said.