‘Lost…in the passion of the night’: Lawyer who firebombed police vehicle sentenced to only 15 months

Written by Jonathan Turley via jonathanturley.org,

We previously discussed the case of two New York lawyers (Colinford Mattis and Uruj Rehman) who took part in violent protests in New York, including firebombing a police car. Subsequently, the Biden Justice Department gave the lawyers a surprisingly generous deal that avoided lengthy prison terms. Now Abdul Rahman has been sentenced to 15 months in prison after he asked not to be jailed for throwing a Molotov cocktail.

Uruj Rahman holds a black and white striped scarf close to her face in one hand, and a homemade petrol bomb in the other, as she prepares to throw the incendiary device out the passenger-side window of a 2020 truck. News)

Mattis was a member of Pryor Cashman’s corporate group when he was arrested. Mattis graduated from New York University School of Law in 2016 and holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University. He also previously worked as a partner at Holland & Knight.

Abdul Rahman was just admitted to the New York Bar in June 2019 after graduating from Fordham University School of Law.

The police also had a picture of Rahman with the explosives. The FBI statement included the following description:

“The officers chased the minivan and arrested Rahman and Mattis, who was the driver of the vehicle. NYPD recovered several raw materials used to make Molotov cocktails, including a lighter, a bottle filled with toilet paper and suspected gasoline near the passenger seat, and a petrol tank in the rear of the vehicle.” .

Mattis and Rahman were facing domestic terrorism charges and possible sentences of up to 30 years in prison. The Biden administration later agreed to a significant reduction in the charges in a prosecution agreement that would likely only result in two years of imprisonment. The particularly strange thing is that the plea agreement reduced the previous plea agreement for a more serious crime. They approved the most serious crime but the Department of Justice reduced it further.

The now impeached lawyer did not ask for jail time and told the court “I have completely lost my way in the passion of the night.”

US District Judge Brian Cogan praised Rahman for her commitment to fighting social injustice: “You are an amazing person who did something terrible one night.” But Coogan also criticized her “arrogance” displayed in such behaviour. Throwing firebombs sounds like more than just arrogance when you’re throwing Molotov cocktails at police cars.

Even with the significantly reduced charges, Cogan still chose not to give Rahman the maximum sentence of two years in prison. While Rehman claimed she was busted in the moment, her texts and emails have a tough story. In one message hours before the protest, she told Mattis “I hope they burn everything. They need to burn all the police departments…maybe all the courthouses too.”

Sentencing on Mattis is expected in December.