February 2, 2018 / 10:22 PM / in 21 days

'Chelsea Bomber' doesn't deserve multiple life sentences, his lawyer says

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New Jersey man convicted of planting bombs in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood does not deserve multiple life sentences and should be able to further his education and see his family while spending the rest of his life in prison, his lawyer argued on Friday.

Ahmad Khan Rahimi, 30, faces sentencing on Feb. 13 in federal court in Manhattan over the attack, including a bomb that injured 30 people when it exploded on Sept. 17, 2016.

Jurors convicted Rahimi in October on all eight counts he faced, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction. Rahimi became known as the “Chelsea Bomber.”

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, who will impose punishment, Rahimi’s lawyer Xavier Donaldson said his client deserves no more than life plus 45 years in prison, all but 15 years of which are required by law.

FILE PHOTO: Ahmad Khan Rahimi, an Afghan-born U.S. citizen accused of planting bombs in New York and New Jersey, appears in Union County Superior Court for a hearing in Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S., May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

Donaldson said Rahimi, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Afghanistan, has completed classes in business, entrepreneurship and drama since his arrest.

He said Rahimi should be allowed to “avail himself of any educational opportunities” he qualifies for while in prison, and said the father of three should be housed as close to Virginia as possible so family can visit.

Donaldson urged Berman not to “unnecessarily stack” extra life sentences on Rahimi for three of the eight counts.

“The obvious severity of a life sentence plus 30 years is crystal clear: said sentence is intended to ensure that Mr. Rahimi is never released,” he wrote.

On Jan. 16, federal prosecutors also urged a life sentence for Rahimi.

They said Rahimi has “failed to show remorse” and has tried to radicalize fellow inmates with Islamic State and al Qaeda propaganda. [nL1N1PB28U]

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler

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