The feds must reveal “years-long” wiretaps between ISIS supporters and accused Hudson River bike path terrorist Sayfullo Saipov or drop the death penalty for the attack that killed eight, his attorneys write in new papers.
Saipov’s federal defenders have fought for access to the wiretaps for over eight months, arguing that information from the secret conversations was used by investigators interrogating the alleged terrorist at Bellevue Hospital immediately after the October 2017 attack with a rental pickup truck.
In new papers, federal defender David Patton argues that Saipov’s alleged “ISIS-related motivations” are critical to the case against capital punishment.
“The government must make a choice: its death penalty or its secrecy,” Patton wrote in a letter filed Friday in Manhattan Federal Court.
“The degree to which Mr. Saipov was influenced by a community of people who embraced, or at least sympathized with, the goals of designated foreign terrorist organizations in Syria and elsewhere is a necessary aspect of the defense’s mitigation investigation. But without access to what the government knows about Mr. Saipov’s contacts’ interaction with and support for radical Islamism, the defense is at a clear disadvantage.”
Prosecutors have vowed they will not use any information from the wiretaps during the trial, but Patton says that promise is inadequate. The names of the individuals Saipov spoke to were redacted, but they appear to involve two separate wiretaps.
Saipov has pleaded not guilty to the 14-block rampage down the scenic bike path. A police officer shot Saipov in the gut, ending the mayhem.
He delivered a pro-ISIS rant in court last year.
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