NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors can show jurors at a terrorism trial the contents of two phones found in a truck used to kill eight people on a New York City bike path, a judge ruled Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Vernon S. Broderick rejected efforts by lawyers for Sayfullo Saipov to toss out the evidence, saying a search warrant used to learn the contents of the phones was supported by probable cause.
Saipov, 31, is scheduled to stand trial next March in the Oct. 31, 2017, attack. He has pleaded not guilty and could face the death penalty, if convicted.
Authorities say Saipov was arrested after emerging from the truck carrying a pellet gun and a paintball gun and shouting an Arabic phrase, “Allahu Akbar,” meaning “God is Great.” He was shot by a police officer and arrested at the scene.
In his ruling, Broderick noted one of the phones was ringing when it was recovered from the truck.
According to the FBI, Saipov’s cellphones contained proof that he viewed and stored thousands of images of Islamic State propaganda, including calls to use cars and trucks as weapons in terrorism attacks in the United States.
Saipov moved to the United States legally in 2010 from Uzbekistan. He lived in Ohio and Florida and worked as a commercial truck driver before living with his family in Paterson, New Jersey. He has been held without bail since his arrest.
A message seeking comment was sent to Saipov’s lawyers.