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Frank James: man pleads not guilty to federal terror charges

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Kamal Saini
Kamal S. has been Journalist and Writer for Business, Hardware and Gadgets at Revyuh.com since 2018. He deals with B2b, Funding, Blockchain, Law, IT security, privacy, surveillance, digital self-defense and network policy. As part of his studies of political science, sociology and law, he researched the impact of technology on human coexistence. Email: kamal (at) revyuh (dot) com

The suspected shooter who opened fire on a Brooklyn subway before fleeing has entered a not guilty plea.

Frank James denied being involved in a terrorist attack, violence against a public transit system, or discharging a firearm during a violent crime.

A federal terror accusation was filed against the suspected shooter, 62, last week by a grand jury.

Over the April 12 attack in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, James faces a second count of firing a firearm during a crime of violence.

The federal allegations come on top of previous charges brought against him by the Southern District of New York. James will be tried separately on each of them.

The earlier accusation charges him with terrorist attacks or other acts of violence against a public transit system, and if convicted, James faces a life sentence.

The shooting in Sunset Park last month left ten people dead and 23 others injured. Everyone who was hurt in the incident survived.

He is still being held in a New York City jail awaiting his next court date.

Prosecutors said James carried out a premeditated attack on the northbound N train at around 8.25 a.m. on April 12 during rush hour, shooting ten people and injuring others.

James, clad in a construction worker’s vest and helmet, put on a gas mask and rolled smoke bombs into the carriage before opening fire.

As bullets were fired, videos from the scene showed hundreds of commuters frantically racing for the exits.

A 24-hour manhunt began, culminating in the arrest of the Bronx-born, Milwaukee-based suspect on April 13 while strolling along the street.

Prosecutors recounted how extra ammo was discovered in James’ rented Philadelphia apartment the next day in court filings, including an extended round magazine for a semi-automatic weapon. In relation to the suspect, no such firearm has yet been discovered.

After the incident, his 9mm handgun, spent shell casings, fireworks, and the key to his U-Haul were discovered at the 36th Street subway station.

More ammo, a torch, and a gun silencer were found in a storage container in Philadelphia, according to police.

When police swooped in on the U-Haul hours after the incident, they discovered a propane gas tank inside.

Five kilometers from the 36th Street subway, James dumped the truck. He was seen on camera going away. James’ motivation is still unknown.

James has a criminal record dating back to 1992, when he pled guilty to attempted petit larceny, and was a target of the FBI’s Guardian Program, which records terror threats and suspects, after an incident in New Mexico in 2019.

He was found not guilty at the time.

However, only one day before the attack, James announced he wanted to hurt people in a YouTube video.

“I can say I wanted to kill people. I wanted to watch people die,” he said. 

James also rants about racism and complains about white people in other videos.

Law enforcement is currently investigating them.

Mayor Eric Adams argued that it was YouTube’s job to monitor and report the content.

“There’s a corporate responsibility hen we are watching hate brew online,” Adams said. 

“We can identify [hate] using artificial intelligence and other methods to identify those who are talking about violence.”

Critics accused Adams of abdicating responsibility, pointing out that the station’s surveillance cameras were broken, allowing James to run, and that the NYPD failed to locate him despite his walking around Manhattan for nearly 24 hours after the incident and eventually called the cops himself.

James’ lawyers claimed earlier this month that FBI agents violated his rights by swabbing his cheek for a DNA sample and forcing him to sign paperwork without first seeking permission from his legal team or verifying that they were present in accordance with James’ legal rights.

More information on the encounter at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Brooklyn has not been released.

Image Credit: Getty

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