New evidence presented to jurors in trial of Chelsea bombing.
The magazine photograph shows a red chair, the kind arranged in pedestrian zones all over Times Square, this one on Seventh Avenue. There is a yellow cab in the background, driving past a TGI Fridays and a billboard for “Mamma Mia!” On the chair sits a single item, a colorful child’s backpack.
The photograph appears beside an article titled “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom,” which offers step-by-step instructions for doing just that, from cutting the heads off matches to how to best pack shrapnel into a pressure cooker.
The article, in an online magazine called Inspire, reportedly published by Al Qaeda, was found in the laptop of Ahmad Khan Rahimi, the suspect in last year’s bombing in Chelsea, who is on trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan. The trial has proceeded at a brisk pace, with 19 witnesses testifying so far over two days, and the article and several others found during investigators’ deep dive into Mr. Rahimi’s internet searches and bookmarks were shown as evidence to jurors on Tuesday.
The online articles shown in court looked professional, with the sort of layouts and photography associated with mainstream media. Charts, timelines and maps appeared alongside Q. and A. interviews with people with names like “Chef AQ,” a kitchen bomb maker. The bomb article includes safety tips like “Wear gloves.” On top of that list is Rule 1: “Put your trust in Allah and pray for the success of your operation. This is the most important rule.”
The articles were found in a computer seized at Mr. Rahimi’s home on Sept. 19, 2016, two days after a bomb exploded on West 23rd Street in Chelsea, wounding more than 30 people, blowing out windows and crumpling a Dumpster. A second device was found four blocks away shortly afterward, a pressure cooker with wires protruding from the top. That morning, a pipe bomb had exploded at the finish line of a charity race in Seaside Park, N.J. Mr. Rahimi’s fingerprints and his appearance on video cameras in the areas of the bombings led the authorities to him and his home.
An investigator for the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan testified of the search of the laptop and Mr. Rahimi’s phone, finding articles about “The Hidden Bomb” and “Open Source jihad,” a guide to making weapons with everyday materials and, its summary explains, “a resource manual for those who loathe the tyrants.” It was accompanied by a picture of a man kneeling in prayer over a pressure cooker.
The “Kitchen of Your Mom” article includes instructions and photographs of the supplies, including an iron pipe, black powder, match heads and a Christmas light. Mr. Rahimi’s defense lawyers, in a cross-examination on Tuesday, asked whether it was possible that someone who studied Al Qaeda and similar groups and their causes could simply be a “fan boy.”
At some point, Mr. Rahimi went shopping, both online and on foot, seemingly with the materials from the articles in mind.
Using data like the computer’s I.P. address and what the police identified as Mr. Rahimi’s email address, investigators linked the defendant to several Amazon purchases for materials used in homemade bombs. On July 2, 2016, two months before the bombing, Amazon shipped one order: “8,000 Pack of Precision Quality Galvanized Steel BBs. Super Value!” The police seized those BBs, and jurors passed the heavy jar among themselves when it was admitted as evidence on Tuesday.
nvestigators also traced Mr. Rahimi to a Home Depot store in New Jersey, where he spent almost three hours one day roaming the aisles. Prosecutors entered into evidence black tape attached to a flip cellphone, galvanized pipe, duct tape and wire found at the site of the explosion in Seaside Park. An F.B.I. agent testified that investigators found something else there, familiar to readers of Inspire: a Christmas light.
Also testifying on Tuesday were officials from Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan, where security footage showed Mr. Rahimi walking through the train terminal dragging two rolling suitcases, and officials from adjoining Madison Square Garden, where similar videos were discovered. Mr. Rahimi made his way down to West 23rd Street, prosecutors said, with two suitcases, and he sat on a church’s steps for about 20 minutes as people walked past on a warm Saturday night. He left one suitcase behind, then brought the other to West 27th Street, leaving it there.
Much of the testimony over two days has involved camera footage, bomb materials and damage and injury, but on Tuesday, jurors heard briefly from someone who once called Mr. Rahimi a friend. It was not a defense witness, but the prosecution’s, Younus Rahimi, a co-worker of Mr. Rahimi’s at a Kennedy Fried Chicken outlet in Perth Amboy, N.J. He was asked to describe buying a cellphone from Mr. Rahimi in August 2016, a month before the bombing.
“He said he needed some money,” said Younus Rahimi, who is not related to the defendant.
On cross-examination, a defense lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, found an opportunity to try to make the co-worker into a character witness of sorts.
“You knew Ahmad to be just another guy who worked there, correct?” she asked.
“Yes,” Younus Rahimi replied.
“Just like you?” she asked.
“Yes,” he replied.
Ibexclusive will be you more details throughout the trial.