A year earlier, in September 2016, Rahimi transported two improvised pressure-cooker bombs - similar to those used in the Boston marathon bombing in April 2013 - from New Jersey to NY, placing both in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, authorities said.
Rahimi, a 30-year-old US citizen born in Afghanistan, said that he had been "harassed" by authorities while travelling because of his Muslim appearance after he started practicing the religion.
In addition to the bombs in Manhattan, Rahimi was accused of planting a bomb on the route of a charity running race in New Jersey, which exploded without injuring anyone, and shooting at New Jersey police before being captured.
Rahimi's arrest came two days after the September 17 bombings during a shootout with police.
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Rahimi wasn't charged with terrorism, but his father, Mohammad Rahimi, said he contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation to warn that his son may have been radicalized and the agency informed him his son wasn't engaged in terrorist behavior.
"I've learned to understand why there's such frustration between the Muslim community overseas and the American people", Rahimi said, attributing this understanding to "life experience".
Ahmad Khan Rahami, an Afghan-born U.S. citizen, appears in court. Discs of the materials were found in two inmates' possession.
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"There is no comparison between the grievances that you may feel and the actions you took", he said. Rahimi was convicted by a jury in October of setting off weapons of mass destruction.
"Less than a year-and-a-half after his attacks, Rahimi has now been tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison", said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.
During the trial, the prosecution presented evidence - including DNA and fingerprints - linking Rahimi to the bombs that were placed in New Jersey and NY.
In recent court papers, prosecutors painted Rahimi as a remorseless terrorist who was basking in his newfound infamy.
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NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill praised the officers who responded to the Chelsea blast, as well as the authorities who tracked down and prosecuted Rahimi.