A lawyer for alleged terrorist Sayfullo Saipov argued Thursday that a Trump tweet saying her client should get the death penalty precludes Attorney General Jeff Sessions from making an independent decision on whether to seek capital punishment. Saipov is charged with killing eight people on a bike path in lower Manhattan with a pickup truck last year. Prosecutors are expected to decide whether or not to seek the death penalty during the next few weeks. “NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed eight people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!” Trump tweeted the day after the attack. “President Trump’s tweets mock Congress’ command that a death sentence should be sought only if the Attorney General believes that ‘the circumstances of the case’ warrant capital punishment,” attorney Jennifer Brown wrote in a court filing. She contended that the tweet makes it impossible for prosecutors “to fairly and independently decide whether to seek the death penalty.” She also wrote that if the judge does not block the possibility of the death penalty, that he should have an “independent prosecutor” make the decision.
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