Jury selection begins for man accused in 2016 New York bombing

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The man accused of setting off bombs in New York City and New Jersey in September 2016, wounding 30 people, is set to stand trial in federal court in Manhattan.

Selection of jurors to hear the case against Ahmad Khan Rahimi, 29, is scheduled to begin Wednesday morning before U.S. District Judge Richard Berman. The trial itself is expected to begin next Monday.

Rahimi, an Afghanistan-born U.S. citizen, has been accused of detonating bombs in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, injuring 30, and at a road race in the coastal New Jersey town of Seaside Heights, where no one was injured.

Prosecutors have said that Rahimi left behind unexploded bombs in New York and New Jersey before being captured after a shootout with police in which two officers were injured.

At his trial, Rahimi will face charges that include using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a public place. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

The case in Manhattan focuses on the bombs planted in New York. Rahimi faces separate charges in New Jersey, including attempted murder over the police shootout.

Prosecutors have said Rahimi was motivated by a violent jihadist ideology. His court-appointed lawyers had sought to keep evidence prosecutors could use to show that out of the case, but Berman has ruled that much of it will be allowed.

He ruled that prosecutors can introduce testimony about a notebook Rahimi kept in which he wrote about Osama bin Laden and bombs “in the streets.”

Berman also allowed prosecutors to introduce records of Rahimi’s internet activity and testimony from an expert on terrorism.

However, the judge ruled that jurors in New York may not hear about Rahimi’s shootout with police in New Jersey, since it is not part of the charges in the case.

Sabrina Shroff, a lawyer for Rahimi, declined to comment on the case.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler