The man who has been charged in October's truck attack that left eight dead in Manhattan spoke out in federal court on Friday, stating his allegiance to Allah and defending what he called the mission of ISIS.
Sayfullo Saipov, 30, asked through his lawyers to address Federal District Court Judge Vernon S. Broderick, his request was granted, and he spoke through translators, the New York Times reported.
He also said that the Islamic State is 'fighting to impose Sharia on earth.' This is in contrast to fighting for oil or land, he said.
The judge then also told Saipov that he would be required to speak through his attorneys in the future, but that he could take the stand during his trial to testify if he wanted to do so.
Saipov was arrested after people on a bike path were run over by a vehicle on October 31 in a midday attack that authorities immediately labeled terrorism.
Victims: Five members of this group of Argentinian friends were also killed. They are Hernán Diego Mendoza (far left), Alejandro Damián Pagnucco (second from left), Ariel Erlij (third from left), Diego Enrique Angelini (second from right) and Hernán Ferruchi (third from right)
Of the eight people killed, five were friends from Argentina celebrating a reunion of sorts, 30 years since their high school graduation. Their names are Hernán Diego Mendoza, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij, Diego Enrique Angelini and Hernán Ferruchi.
Twelve others were injured, making it the deadliest attack to date in New York City since the September 11th attacks in 2001.
Authorities said Saipov also made statements almost immediately after his arrest about his allegiance to ISIS, which later took credit for the deadly attack, and told investigators he 'felt good' about the killings.
Saipov was shot in the abdomen by a police officer after authorities said he crashed the truck into a school bus.
His injury was minor enough that he was transferred to a prison facility in Manhattan two days later.
Saipov told investigators he was inspired to carry out the attack after watching a video of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi questioning 'what Muslims in the United States and elsewhere were doing to respond to the killing of Muslims in Iraq,' according to what authorities are quoted as saying in court papers.
Evidence against him includes what was found on two of his cell phones, according to court documents.
Investigators said one phone contained 90 videos and other Islamic State propaganda, including one of a beheading and another of a tank running over a prisoner.
The terror suspect came to the US legally in 2010 from Uzbekistan, where officials say he had no history of trouble with the law.
He first lived in Ohio, where he was a commercial truck driver, then in Florida.
He most recently lived in New Jersey with his wife and children, and worked as an Uber driver.
Saipov's defense attorney has urged prosecutors to accept a guilty plea from the defendant which would result in a life sentence, to provide closure for the victims of this attack.
The prosecution asked the judge to set a trial date beginning in April, also arguing the victims deserved closure from a speedy trial.
However, the state has until September to decide whether it will pursue the death penalty against Saipov, which will ultimately be determined by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The defense said that if the death penalty is sought, it will need additional time to prepare legal arguments.