Trump's Death Penalty Tweets Can Harm Case Against NYC Terror Suspect

When a reporter asked whether he would send Saipov to the Guantanamo Bay prison, Trump replied, "I would certainly consider that".

This morning he followed up with a tweet adding that though he "would love to send the NYC terrorist to Guantanamo" it would be quicker to try Sayfullo Saipov in a federal court.

Trump called Saipov an "animal" and said the criminal justice system is a "joke" and a "laughing stock" in its prosecution of terror attack suspects.

"Mr. President, we all know he should get the death penalty".

"I would certainly consider that", said Trump at the start of a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Saipov was on Thursday charged with terrorism offences by U.S. prosecutors who said he made a decision to carry out the attack "to inflict maximum damage against civilians". Trump tweeted. "There is also something appropriate about keeping him in the home of the frightful crime he committed".

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving member of a pair of ethnic Chechen brothers who killed three people and injured more than 260 when they bombed the 2013 Boston Marathon in an attack inspired by the al Qaeda militant group, was sentenced to death in 2015.

The 29-year-old suspect, who is a native of Uzbekistan and a legal resident of the US, was charged Wednesday in federal court with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Hours earlier, Trump expressed outrage at reports that Saipov asked for the Islamic State flag to be hung in the hospital room where he was treated for gunshot wounds during his capture by police after Tuesday's rampage. Saipov appeared in a NY federal courtroom on Wednesday on terrorism charges after he allegedly drove a rented pickup truck down a mile-long stretch of bike path on Tuesday in Lower Manhattan's West Side, where children and their parents were preparing to celebrate Halloween. They say the Islamic State group's online calls to action spurred Saipov to launch the attack in lower Manhattan on Halloween.

Trump said Saipov had either brought in or potentially could bring in 23 relatives.

President Donald Trump is calling for the death penalty against the man charged with mowing down pedestrians and bikers in New York City, raising the question of whether his rhetoric could imperil prosecutors' efforts in the case.

Five Argentine tourists, a Belgian, a New Yorker and a New Jersey man were killed in the attack.

The Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov came to U.S. in 2010, with the country's lottery visa programme.

Prosecutors said Saipov had 90 videos and 3800 photos on one of his two mobile phones, many of them Islamic State-related pieces of propaganda, including images of prisoners being beheaded, shot or run over by a tank.

Vladeck noted that American criminal courts, which have secured hundreds of terrorism-related convictions since September 11, have been more efficient than the military tribunal process at Guantanamo Bay.

"The folks in that unit working with the (New York Police Department) and the (Joint Terrorism Task Force) have a long and unblemished track record of successfully investigating and prosecuting domestic and global terrorists", Kim said.

  • Jon Douglas