Pauline Nelson accepted Manhattan federal Judge Richard Berman's invitation Tuesday for victims of the Sept. 17, 2016 attack to speak at the sentencing hearing for the Afghanistan-born Ahmad Khan Rahimi. The Brooklyn resident was hospitalized after the car she was driving was rocked by the explosion.
Standing several feet from Rahimi at his sentencing, Nelson, who's originally from Trinidad, scolded him for not apologizing to victims. She looked him in the eye as she spoke, and he stared back but said nothing.
Outside court, Nelson said it brought her relief to confront him. She said she's still frightened whenever she hears a siren.
Rahimi, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Afghanistan and lived in New Jersey, injured 30 when one of his bombs exploded in Chelsea. A second bomb planted nearby did not detonate.
That blast happened just hours after a small pipe bomb exploded along a Marine Corps road race in Seaside Park, New Jersey, frightening participants but injuring no one.
PHOTOS: Explosion in New York City
The bombings triggered a two-day manhunt that ended in a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey. Rahimi was shot several times but survived.
Federal prosecutors said in court papers that Rahimi has not shown remorse and had tried to radicalize fellow prisoners at the federal jail in New York where he has been imprisoned since his arrest.
"He is proud of what he did, scornful of the American justice system, and as dedicated as ever to his terrorist ideology," they wrote.
Rahimi, given a chance to speak at his sentencing, said: "I don't harbor hate for anyone."
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Rahimi, prosecutors said, gave inmates copies of terrorist propaganda and jihadist materials, including speeches and lectures by al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who inspired attacks on America and was killed in a U.S. airstrike in September 2011.
Rahimi also allowed some inmates to view materials on his laptop or provided electronic copies as he spread "The Book of Jihad," bomb-making instructions and various issues of a propaganda magazine.
Defense attorney Xavier Donaldson said that Rahimi had once aspired to be a police officer and worked as a security guard after studying criminal justice at a community college.
"It was Mr. Rahimi's belief that he could help people while employed in a position that would guarantee him some type of pension," Donaldson wrote.
While imprisoned, Rahimi has completed classes in business, entrepreneurship and drama, Donaldson wrote.
Click here for more coverage of the Chelsea bombing and subsequent investigation.
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