The NYC truck attack suspect is seeking a plea deal to accept a life sentence and avoid the death penalty


nyc truck attack halloween

  • The New York City truck attack suspect is seeking a deal that would exchange a guilty plea for prosecutors’ guarantee that he will not face the death penalty.
  • Sayfullo Saipov faces 22 federal charges, including eight counts of murder and one count of supporting a terrorist organization.
  • Saipov’s defense team argued in a letter that a swift plea deal will spare the victims’ families the need to undergo a lengthy death penalty trial and subsequent appeals.

Sayfullo Saipov, the man accused of killing eight and injuring 11 when he drove a rented pickup truck down a Manhattan bike path last Halloween, is seeking a plea bargain that would leave him imprisoned for life if prosecutors agree not to seek the death penalty.

“The Government expresses concern about the victims’ and the public’s need for closure in this case, but the most straightforward way to achieve closure would be for the Government to accept a plea of guilty and a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole,” a letter filed to federal court on Wednesday by Saipov’s defense attorneys said.

They argued in the letter that such a plea deal would spare the victims’ families the need to participate in a death penalty trial and potentially undergo “years of appeals and other post-conviction litigation as required by the Constitution in the event of a death sentence.”

Saipov faces 22 federal charges, including eight counts of murder in the aid of racketeering activity, 11 counts of attempted murder in the aid of racketeering activity, one count of providing material support and resources to the terrorist group ISIS, and one count of violence and destruction of motor vehicles.

Each of those counts carries a maximum sentence of the death penalty, though it’s unclear if prosecutors will seek it or if they will be amenable to a plea bargain.

Terrorism cases that involve the death penalty are rare, especially in New York, but some legal experts have voiced concerns that pressure from the Trump administration could sway the prosecution’s decision.

sayfullo saipovThe deadly attack began in the afternoon of October 31, when prosecutors say Saipov drove a rented Home Depot pickup truck onto a busy Manhattan bike lane, veering into his victims and colliding with a school bus before jumping out and brandishing two guns that were later determined by police to be fake.

Saipov was arrested after being shot in the abdomen by a police officer shortly after the crash.

Saipov later admitted to authorities that he wrote a note found near the crashed truck, which was written in Arabic and said the Islamic State would endure forever, according to a criminal complaint.

He said he was was motivated to carry out the attack after watching a video featuring ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi asking what Muslims in the US were doing to respond to the killing of Muslims in Iraq.

Saipov also asked during his interview with authorities if he could display the ISIS flag in his hospital room after the attack. He told them that “he felt good about what he had done,” the complaint said.

In the immediate aftermath of the October attack, President Donald Trump publicly and repeatedly demanded that Saipov be sentenced to death.

“NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!” Trump said on Twitter.

He continued: “Would love to send the NYC terrorist to Guantanamo but statistically that process takes much longer than going through the Federal system … There is also something appropriate about keeping him in the home of the horrible crime he committed. Should move fast. DEATH PENALTY!”

SEE ALSO: Trump’s death penalty tweets will likely throw a huge wrench in the NYC terror suspect’s case

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It’s All Already Been Priced In — See Also


I was reading Ben Shapiro equate Trump’s alleged affair with a porn star to the strong efficient market hypothesis — essentially everything, known and unknown, about Trump has already been taken into account by Trump’s supporters and opponents and therefore no “new” information can move the numbers — and it occurred to me that everything is essentially meaningless and life itself is a futile struggle against entropy. The universe has already “priced in” your existence, everything you have done or ever will do has already been cosmically accounted for and no amount of effort or struggle will change the numbers in the least way. The question then becomes simply how much pain are we willing to endure before succumbing to the inevitable.

In related news, I’m also trying to quit smoking (again) this week, and I don’t give a flying rat’s ass about the agreed upon “format” of this link wrap. Here are some stories we wrote today:

FANTASTIC ANONYMOUS TROLL OUTED AS A LAWYER, CONTINUES TROLLING: A University of Kentucky basketball fan with a large Twitter following turns out to be a local attorney. He was outed by a physician. Their parents must be so proud.

FIRMS THAT CAN’T PAY TOP DOLLAR WORRY ABOUT RECRUITING TOP TALENT: Like them, I also wonder how to get people to listen to me without giving them a compelling reason to do so. Life is hard.

JOE MAKES A SOLID POINT HERE: If Steve Bannon has to testify in front of Bob Mueller’s grand jury (which he does), it makes no sense for him to testify in front of Congress (which he didn’t). That’s just basic perjury-trap avoidance.

THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT IS PRODUCING FAKE NEWS: One of the things I hate most about the Trump administration is that he makes me repeat his lies just as part of the effort of exposing them. Like, I’ve literally now memorized a FAKE STATISTIC because I had to spend a lot of time explaining why its fake.

PEOPLE WITH BAD LSAT SCORES WHO GO TO BAD LAW SCHOOLS DROPOUT AT HIGH RATES: As I said, the universe has already priced in all information, including unknown information, in its equations.
It’s All Already Been Priced In — See Also syndicated from

Trump’s latest immigration crackdown threatens the economy — both in the US and in El Salvador


El Salvador immigrant deportation

  • Trump administration plans to strip some 200,000 Salvadorans in the US of temporary protected status is likely to be a blow to the economies of both El Salvador and the US.
  • El Salvador will struggle to absorb thousands of returnees, who may displace current jobholders there and in turn cause more migration to the US.
  • In the US, employers face expenses related to laying off TPS holders as well as the prospect of being unable to replace those workers.

The Trump administration announced earlier this month it will end temporary protected status for some 200,000 immigrants from El Salvador living in the US.

The administration cast the move as a corrective for a TPS policy it said had been abused, and it comes as as part of President Donald Trump’s effort to restrict legal and illegal immigration. The president has said this would preserve jobs and raise wages — claims that are widely disputed.

Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans will not expire until September 2019, giving people with that status in the US 18 months to apply for a new immigration status or leave the country voluntarily.

But during implimentation and afterward, uprooting thousands of Salvadorans and their families is likely to create drag on the economy in US and in El Salvador.

‘Security is still bad. The economy is bad. Corruption is bad’

El Salvador San Salvador police bus homicide crime scene

The Central American country, home to more than 6 million people, has been wracked by violence and is struggling economically.

“El Salvador’s economy is not very strong. Its [GDP is] growing roughly 2.5% a year,” Mike Allison, a political-science professor at the University of Scranton, told Business Insider. “Unemployment’s high. Jobs aren’t well-paying. There’s very few protections for workers.”

Salvadorans depend heavily on remittances — 382,734 households received them in 2016, according to a government survey, and 97% are sent from the US. The more than $4.5 billion in remittances received in 2016 amounted were used to pay for things like rent, school fees and transportation costs, and utility bills.

Any decline in remittances caused by deportations or removals from the US would reduce consumption and increase poverty in El Salvador, Carmen Aida Lazo, of ESEN University in San Salvador, told The Economist.

Many of the conditions created by the 2001 earthquake that first prompted the TPS designation for immigrants from El Salvador haven’t really improved, Allison said.

El Salvador military police

“Security is still bad. The economy is bad. Corruption is bad. What’s helped the country sort of stay afloat has been the billions of dollars sent back each year by Salvadorans living abroad,” he told Business Insider.

“The situation in El Salvador today probably will not be any better in 18 months. If anything it’ll probably get a little worse.”

The absence of Salvadorans in the US sending money back to El Salvador would likely be compounded by the strain their return would put on the government and the local economy.

The official unemployment rate in El Salvador is 7%, but more than 40% of workers are underemployed, and about 66% of them work in the informal sector. The country sees 60,000 people enter the workforce every year, but its economy only creates 11,000 jobs, according to think tank Fusades.

“So the thought that these people are going to be successfully absorbed by the Salvadoran economy is fantastical,” Geoff Thale, program director at the Washington Office on Latin America, told Business Insider.

“Whatever the administration says about conditions in El Salvador [having] improved — I don’t actually think they have — but it’s clear to me that even if they were to have improved, they haven’t improved to the condition where the country can accept back that number of people and absorb them into the workforce,” Thale said.

‘What they’ll probably do is displace other Salvadorans’

FILE PHOTO: Deportees wait to be processed at an immigration facility after a flight carrying illegal immigrants from the U.S. arrived in San Salvador, El Salvador, January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas/File Photo

The US and Salvadoran governments have an agreement that limits the number of deportation flights to eight a week, each carrying no more than 135 people.

Under the deal, the US can’t send more than 56,000 people back to El Salvador each year. A significant increase in the number returnees would further strain the limited resources the government and civil-society groups have to assist people arriving in the country, many of whom haven’t been there in more than a decade.

Salvadoran TPS holders in the US are typically in their 40s and are used to wages higher than are offered in El Salvador, and many who return are likely to struggle to find work and settle there. Ones who do enter the labor force in El Salvador may take jobs that are already filled, Thale said.

women at work El Salvador

“While they occupy relative low-skilled jobs in the United States, in El Salvador they would look like mostly bilingual, relatively skilled workers,” Thale told Business Insider.

“What they’ll probably do is displace other Salvadorans, and those people, who are less skilled and … pushed out of the workforce in a terrible economy with … a lot of crime and violence, will probably emigrate to the United States.”

The government in El Salvador is looking for a way to relieve the pressure. It is discussing a deal with Qatar under which migrants from the Central American country who lose the right to live in the US could live and work temporarily in the Middle Eastern country.

El Salvador’s foreign minister said Salvadorans in Qatar could work in engineering, aircraft maintenance, construction, and agriculture.

Salvadorans removed from the US may also find work at call centers, which have sprung up in El Salvador in recent years. With few local English speakers in the country, returnees with language skills would stand out. While call centers typically offer higher wages than other local industries, they have been criticized for creating high-pressure work environments with few worker protections.

‘You’ve removed thousands of fully employed people’

El Salvador immigrant immigration TPS deportation

A typical Salvadoran TPS recipient in the US has been in the country for 21 years. Ninety percent of them have jobs, and one-third own homes.

Many, if not most, of them are likely to try to stay in the country, either by securing a new immigration status or by staying without authorization. But without legal status, the role they play in the US economy, and the protections they have while working, will be stripped away.

“I think they’re going to wind up living in illegality here, which will make them more exposed to abuse by employers, make them live more in fear, make them far less likely to cooperate with local police,” Thale told Business Insider. “In those communities, in terms of employment, in terms of schools, in terms of people paying their mortgages, there will be economic ripple effects.”

Immigrants in the US — Haitians and others from Central America, in particular — often make their living in the US in the service industry, doing jobs in industries like construction, food service, and child and elderly care.

“If you get rid of 26% of my employees, I guess I’m going to have to terminate some of the contracts,” Victor Moran, the chief executive of Total Quality, a janitorial services company in the Washington area, told The New York Times.

FILE PHOTO: Migrants attend a workshop for legal advice following the U.S. government's recent announcement it would step up deportations of Central Americans families that arrived since May 2014 when there was a surge of women and minors arriving from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, many fleeing drug gang violence, in south Chicago, Illinois, January 10, 2016.   REUTERS/Joshua Lott/File Photo

Moran said he wasn’t willing to break the law to keep those employees, and the government’s recent nationwide sweep of 7-11 convenience stores indicates the measures it will take to restrict the hiring of undocumented workers.

“There are no Americans out there to take the jobs,” Mark Drury, a vice president at a Washington-based plumbing, heating, and cooling business, told The Times

Drury said his firm would have to lay off its 14 Salvadoran workers and was worried about what would happen to some 30 employees who are in the US under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which protects immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation.

Businesses in Houston have expressed concern about immigration restrictions inhibiting the effort to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey.

A study by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center found that stripping Haitians, Salvadorans, and Hondurans — who may see their TPS status rescinded this summer — would, over 10 years, deprive Social Security and Medicare of $6.9 billion and shrink GDP by $45.2 billion.

The wholesale firing of TPS holders from those three countries would hit US employers with almost a billion dollars in turnover costs, and deporting them would cost the US $3.1 billion, with an outsize effect on metropolitan areas in Florida, New York, California, Texas, Maryland, and Virginia, according to the report.

“This policy [is] probably going to worsen poverty and the conditions in El Salvador, but it’s also going to do the same thing in the United States,” Allison, of the University of Scranton, told Business Insider. “If you end up deporting or taking away the legal status of 200,000 people, they’re going to lose the good-paying jobs that they have right now.”

“You’ve removed thousands of fully employed people,” Allison said. “And now their kids won’t be able to rely upon the income form their parents, which is going to force, probably, many of them into poverty.”

SEE ALSO: Trump’s latest move on immigration will likely empower MS-13 — a group he’s vowed to ‘destroy’

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