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FILE PHOTO - Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in the New York City truck attack, is seen in this handout photo released November 1, 2017. St. Charles County Department of Corrections/Handout via REUTERS/File Picture(reuters_tickers)
By Brendan Pierson
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Uzbek immigrant accused of killing eight people by speeding a rental truck down a New York City bike path in October pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to murder and other criminal charges.
Sayfullo Saipov, 29, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick in Manhattan. A court-appointed lawyer representing him, David Patton, declined to comment on the case after the hearing.
Saipov was arrested immediately after the Oct. 31 attack in which he ploughed a truck down a bike lane on Manhattan's west side. He was hospitalized after he was shot by a police officer and arrested.
On Nov. 21, Saipov was charged in an indictment with eight counts of murder, 12 counts of attempted murder, one count of providing material support to Islamic State and one count of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle resulting in death.
The most serious charges against Saipov carry the death penalty, though it is not yet clear whether prosecutors will seek it.
Following the attack, Saipov told investigators he was inspired by watching Islamic State videos and began planning the attack a year earlier, according to a criminal complaint filed by prosecutors the day after the attack.
Saipov also said "he felt good about what he had done" and asked for permission to display the flag of the militant group Islamic State in his hospital room, the complaint said.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the truck attack, which was the deadliest assault on New York City since Sept. 11, 2001.
Five of the victims were Argentinians who were part of a group in New York to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation. A Belgian woman, a New Yorker and a New Jersey man were also killed.
The next hearing in Saipov's case is set for Jan. 23.
(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Andrew Hay)