Jury selection begins in bike path terrorism trial
NEW YORK - Jury selection is now underway in the federal trial of a man accused of killing eight people on a New York City bike path on Halloween in 2017.
Sayfullo Saipov is accused of driving a rental truck on the path along the West Side Highway and ramming it into pedestrians.
Saipov rented the truck across the Hudson River in New Jersey just an hour before the attack. A handwritten note that essentially said the Islamic State will "endure forever" was found at the scene, according to law enforcement personnel.
Officials said he followed ISIS suggestions on how to carry out the attack.
He allegedly barreled along the bike and pedestrian path in a rented Home Depot truck, targeting bikers and runners, before slamming into a small yellow school bus.
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He then jumped out of the truck with what turned out to be a fake gun in each hand and shouted what witnesses said was "Allahu Akbar," Arabic for "God is great," authorities said.
The mayhem and the burst of police gunfire set off panic in the neighborhood and left the pavement strewn with mangled bicycles and bodies that were soon covered with sheets.
"I saw a lot of blood over there. A lot of people on the ground," Uber driver Chen Yi said the day of the attack.
Originally from Uzbekistan, Saipov entered the United States legally in 2010 under a diversity visa program, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
He pleaded not guilty. If convicted on terrorism charges he could face the death penalty.
Opening statements are expected to take place later this month or early in November.
The trial could last until the end of January.