Prosecutors ask judge to reject attempt by suspect to dismiss indictment in subway shooting

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Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Accused subway gunman Frank James claimed he was just a passenger: court docs
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The suspect allegedly used a semi-automatic pistol to shoot 10 people trapped in a northbound N train in April.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn asked a judge to use "common sense" and reject an attempt by Frank James to dismiss the indictment that charges him with shooting up a subway car in Brooklyn in April.

James allegedly used a Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol to shoot 10 people trapped in a northbound N train at approximately 8:26 a.m. on April 12 after detonating smoke bombs. Ten passengers were wounded by gunfire and numerous others were treated for smoke inhalation.

James sought to dismiss the indictment, arguing the law does not apply to him because it applies only to violent crimes that occur on "property used to support the operation of the subways," such as a subway platform, but not those committed on "subway cars themselves."

Prosecutors dismissed the argument as "inconsistent with the language and structure of the statute, as well as common sense" and urged the judge to reject it.

"Under the defendant's interpretation, he would be guilty of a federal crime if his victims had been standing on the subway platform, but because they were carried in a subway car he escapes criminal liability," prosecutors said in a new court filing.

"While many of the victims of the defendant's attack were left bleeding on the subway station floor, the defendant himself used the subway system to flee: he entered a southbound N train that had arrived at the same subway station, and made his initial escape on that train."

Prosecutors also urged the judge to reject James' argument to move the case out of Brooklyn, arguing the defense failed to meet its burden.

"It is of course unsurprising that the press coverage shortly after the subway shooting mirrored the dramatic nature of the defendant's attack. But any analysis of pretrial publicity must also take into account that, in the months that followed, press coverage tapered to routine reporting of ongoing court proceedings," a separate filing said.

There's a hearing Thursday in Brooklyn federal court on both of these, and other, matters.

RELATED | Frank R. James: What we know about Brooklyn subway shooting suspect

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