Bombing suspect Ahmad Rahimi pleads not guilty

Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, is the suspect of the Chelsea explosion in New York City on Saturday, September 17, 2016.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, is the suspect of the Chelsea explosion in New York City on Saturday, September 17, 2016.

NEW YORK — Ahmad Rahimi, who was wounded in a shootout with police last month after allegedly setting off bombs in New York and New Jersey, pleaded not guilty Thursday to weapons and attempted murder charges.

Rahimi, 28, whose last name had previously been given as Rahami by authorities, was arraigned in a New Jersey courtroom via Skype from a hospital bed where he has been recovering from wounds suffered in the gunbattle.

His attorney, Peter Liguori, standing at his client’s bedside, opened the hearing by telling state Judge Regina Caulfield that the defendant asked that his name be spelled Rahimi.

Liguori entered the not guilty plea on behalf of his client, who said little during the brief proceeding.

Rahimi is charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer stemming from the Linden, New Jersey, incident.

He is also charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

In addition, Rahimi was charged in federal court with four counts: use of weapons of mass destruction, bombing a public place, destruction of property and use of a destructive device.

Authorities say Rahimi detonated bombs the morning of September 17 near the start of a Marine Corps charity run in Seaside Park, New Jersey, and that night in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. An unexploded pressure cooker bomb was found several blocks away from the site of the Chelsea blast.

Nobody was hurt in the first blast but the explosion in Chelsea injured 29 people.

The night of September 18, a backpack with five bombs inside was found in a wastebasket outside near a rail station in Elizabeth, New Jersey, about 16 miles from New York City.

A regionwide manhunt was launched and Rahimi was arrested the morning of September 19 after the shootout with police in Linden. Two officers were wounded.

He is a US citizen who was born in Afghanistan and had visited the Mideast several times in recent years, authorities said.

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