A former Obama administration official has secured bail for a lawyer accused of firebombing a police cruiser during George Floyd unrest in New York City, according to a court transcript and multiple reports.
According to the Washington Free Beacon and Fox News, Washington-based lawyer Salmah Rizvi, who worked in both the State and Defense departments under former President Barack Obama, helped bail out fellow attorney Urooj Rahman, who prosecutors accuse of “tossing a Molotov Cocktail at an unoccupied NYPD vehicle.”
A court transcript (pdf) from Rahman’s Monday arraignment indicates that Rizvi agreed to sign a bond, telling the judge: “Urooj Rahman is my best friend and I am an associate at the law firm Ropes & Gray in Washington, D.C. I earn $255,000 a year.”
The judge told the accused that if Rizvi signs the bond “and you don’t do everything you’re supposed to do and you don’t appear when you’re supposed to, they will be jointly and severally liable to the United States Government for a quarter of a million dollars.”
He added that if Rahman fails to show up for her hearing, she could be charged with jumping bail, which carries a mandatory prison sentence.
Prosecutors with the Eastern District of New York said in a release on Sunday that an NYPD surveillance camera caught Rahman tossing a Molotov Cocktail at a parked police car in Brooklyn, New York, before escaping in a minivan.
Police set off in pursuit and arrested Rahman, along with Colinford Mattis, also an attorney, who drove the escape vehicle. Inside the minivan, police found several precursor items used to build Molotov Cocktails, including a lighter, a bottle filled with toilet paper, and a liquid suspected to be gasoline.
Rahman and Mattis, both highly educated attorneys, have both been charged with causing damage by fire and explosives to a police vehicle, and could each face up to 20 years behind bars.
A detention memo cited by the New York Post mentioned the prestigious educational backgrounds of both defendants, saying, “They knew their acts endangered the NYPD officers and protesters on the street, as well as their own futures, and the defendants were undeterred.”
“These defendants are charged with attacking the New York City Police Department while its Police Officers are risking their lives to protect the Constitutional rights of protesters and the safety of us all,” stated U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. “No rational human being can ever believe that hurling firebombs at Police Officers and vehicles is justified.”
“The consequences for conducting this alleged attack, and any similar activity planned for the future, will be severe,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney.