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New York lawyers have pleaded guilty to the Molotov cocktail case


© Reuters file photo: Colinford Mattis, an associate of suspended Prior Cashman, and public interest attorney Uruz Rahman are pictured in a photo taken by U.S. authorities after their arrest in New York on May 30, 2020. U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District

By David Thomas

(Reuters) – Two New York lawyers on Wednesday pleaded guilty to their role in the Molotov cocktail attack during a May 2020 protest over the death of George Floyd.

Prosecutors said a lawyer named Uruj Rahman threw a petrol-filled bottle into an empty police car, tried to distribute Molotov cocktails to others and then fled in a minivan driven by Colinford Matisse.

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

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

“I deeply regret my behavior and hope I could have made a better choice that night,” Mattis said.

Rahman also expressed regret, and both admitted that they would be dismissed as a result of their conviction.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan set their sentence Feb. 8. They face up to 10 years in prison under terrorism-related punishment provisions.

“The rise of terrorism is going to be a big problem. I have no idea where I’m going to get out of it,” Kogan said.

Rahman’s lawyer, Paul Schchmann, said the couple “did not deserve to be imprisoned for their behavior in the heat of the moment on one of the hottest nights in modern American history.”

Mattis, an associate of Prior Cashman, was fired in April 2020 following the Covid-19 epidemic and was later suspended following his arrest. Rahman represents tenants in the Bronx as a public interest lawyer.

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