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US New York lawyers plead guilty in Molotov cocktail case

12:35  23 october  2021
12:35  23 october  2021 Source:   reuters.com

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By David Thomas

FILE PHOTO: Handout photos of Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman © Reuters/HANDOUT FILE PHOTO: Handout photos of Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman

(Reuters) - Two New York lawyers pleaded guilty on Wednesday for their roles in a Molotov cocktail attack during May 2020 protests sparked by George Floyd's death.

Prosecutors said one of the lawyers, Urooj Rahman, threw a gasoline-filled bottle into an empty police vehicle, attempted to distribute Molotov cocktails to others, and then fled in a minivan driven by Colinford Mattis.

The incident came during Brooklyn protests after Floyd, a Black man, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, sparking widespread protests against racism and police violence.

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Rahman, 32, and Mattis, 34, each pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to a single count of possessing or making a destructive device.

"I deeply regret my conduct and wish I had made better choices on that night," Mattis said.

Rahman also expressed regret, and both acknowledged that they would likely be disbarred as a result of their guilty pleas.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan set their sentencing for Feb. 8. They face up to 10 years in prison under a terrorism-related sentencing provision.

"The terrorism enhancement is going to be a big issue. I have no idea where I’m going to come out on that," Cogan said.

Mattis, an associate at Pryor Cashman, was furloughed in April 2020 in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic and then suspended following his arrest. Rahman represented tenants in the Bronx as a public interest lawyer.

(Reporting by David Thomas in New York; Editing by David Bario, Noeleen Walder and Matthew Lewis)

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