In the News: Trial starts for Halloween terrorist

The terror trial of Sayfullo Saipov, the man accused of killing eight people on the Hudson River Park bike path on Halloween afternoon in 2017, started earlier this month in Federal Court on Worth. The Times has the most detailed account of the trial so far; it is expected to last three months. Saipov’s defense attorney does not dispute that Saipov committed the attack and focused his opening statements on Saipov’s motives and connections to ISIS.

Saipov drove a Home Depot rental truck down the path, entering the park at Pier 40 and driving south until he ran into a school bus at PS 89 on Chambers. Killed were five Argentinian tourists who were in the city to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high-school graduation; Anne-Laure Decadt, a 31-year-old Belgian mother of two young sons; New Jersey resident Darren Drake, 32; and Manhattan resident and software engineer Nicholas Cleves, 23. A dozen more were wounded, including Marion Van Reeth, a Belgian who lost both legs, and a child a little girl who suffered traumatic brain damage when Saipov smashed his truck into her school bus.

In separate cases, the families of the victims have also brought claims against the city, the state, Hudson River Park Trust and Home Depot.

From The Times: “‘It was a scene of destruction and horror,’ a federal prosecutor told a Manhattan jury on Monday at the opening of the trial…Mr. Saipov ‘ran over them, crushed their bodies, sent them flying into the air, left them bleeding to die,’ the prosecutor, Alexander Li, said in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

“Mr. Li, in his opening statement, said the evidence would show that Mr. Saipov, who lived in Paterson, N.J., drove the truck into Manhattan and headed south on the West Side Highway. As he neared Houston Street, he pulled onto the bike path and almost immediately began plowing into victims.

“He slammed into one group of 10 friends from Argentina, who were riding bicycles in pairs.

“As Mr. Saipov drove faster and faster, Mr. Li said, he killed two more people, driving over one man and crushing his body and hitting another, sending his body flying into the air. As he raced his truck down the path, he crashed into the side of a school bus. Inside were two children and two adults, including the driver.”