World

New York bombing suspect pleads not guilty to charges in N.J. from hospital bed

The man accused of last month's bombings in New York and New Jersey that injured dozens of people made his first court appearance on Thursday from a hospital bed, pleading not guilty to attempting to murder police officers.

Ahmad Khan Rahimi is still recovering from gunshot wounds suffered during shootout with police

Ahmad Khan Rahimi, left, appears via video from his hospital bed in Newark, N.J., during a court hearing at the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth, N.J. on Thursday. (Union County Courthouse/The Record/Pool/AP)

The man accused of last month's bombings in New York and New Jersey that injured dozens of people made his first court appearance on Thursday from a hospital bed, pleading not guilty to attempting to murder police officers.

Ahmad Khan Rahimi, 28, whose last name had previously been reported as Rahami, appeared via live video on a television screen in a courtroom in Elizabeth, N.J., from the hospital where he has been recovering from gunshot wounds suffered during a shootout with police.

With his court-appointed lawyer, Peter Liguori, standing bedside in hospital scrubs, Rahimi lay still with a blanket pulled up to his neck during the hearing.

Rahimi, said by U.S. authorities to have been inspired by radial jihadism, spoke in a quiet voice, answering "yes" to several questions about whether he understood the charges and wished to have Liguori represent him.

Liguori told the judge that his client's last name was spelled "Rahimi."

The hearing, which lasted only a few minutes, concerned state charges against him stemming from a gunfight with police on Sept. 19, after an officer discovered him sleeping in the doorway of a bar.

Ahmad Khan Rahami is accused of setting off bombs in New York and New Jersey in September. He made his first court appearance Thursday on charges he tried to fatally shoot police officers trying to capture him. (Danielle Parhizkaran/The Record/Pool/AP)

Rahimi, a U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan, is also facing federal charges of using weapons of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use in New York and New Jersey.

He is accused of setting off an explosive in Manhattan's Chelsea neighbourhood that injured 31 people, as well as a pipe bomb near a charity running race in a New Jersey shore town on Sept. 17.

In addition, Rahimi is charged with planting another pressure-cooker bomb in Chelsea that did not go off and with leaving several devices at a train station in Elizabeth, N.J., just blocks from the courthouse where he appeared on video.

One of those explosives detonated when a bomb-squad robot attempted to defuse it. None of the blasts killed anyone.

It remains unclear when Rahimi will appear in federal court, but it is likely he will face charges there before New Jersey's state case proceeds to trial.

The hearing had been delayed while Rahimi, who was unconscious for weeks, recovered from his injuries. Two officers suffered injuries in the shootout, and at least one of them attended Thursday's hearing.