A former Obama administration intelligence official who worked in both the Departments of State and Defense has guaranteed bail for a human rights lawyer accused of firebombing a police vehicle in New York City.
The former official, Salmah Rizvi, told a judge the alleged firebomber is her "best friend." Rizvi, now an attorney at the D.C.-based law firm Ropes & Gray, helped secure the release of fellow lawyer Urooj Rahman by agreeing to be a suretor for her bail. That means Rizvi is liable for the full cost of the $250,000 bail if Rahman fails to obey the court's orders.
Rahman was released to home confinement over the objections of government attorneys after her arrest on Saturday for throwing a lit Molotov cocktail through the window of an NYPD vehicle. Evidence presented by prosecutors included images of Rahman holding a Molotov cocktail in the passenger seat of a van that was later found to be full of the necessary materials for making the explosive devices.
U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie acknowledged the strong evidence against Rahman, who was also accused of distributing the incendiary devices to other rioters, but agreed to grant her bail due to the "willingness of family and friends to sign on as suretors," according to a report from Law360.
Rizvi appeared in front of the court during Rahman's Monday arraignment to certify her willingness to guarantee Rahman's bail, according to a transcript of the proceedings obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. "Urooj Rahman is my best friend and I am an associate at the law firm Ropes & Gray in Washington, D.C.," Rizvi told the court. "I earn $255,000 a year."
Neither Rizvi nor Ropes & Gray responded to requests for comment.
Rizvi entered the legal field after a career in the Obama administration's intelligence community, where "her high-value work would often inform the President's Daily Briefs," according to her bio at the Islamic Scholarship Fund. The group gave Rizvi a law school scholarship sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a radical anti-Israel organization that has been tied to the funding of global terror networks.
During Rizvi's time at the New York University School of Law, she was a fellow at Ramallah-based legal organization Al-Haq, which was founded to challenge the "legal status of Israel as an occupying power." The group is best known for filing lawsuits aimed at delegitimizing Israel and providing legal backing for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against the Jewish state.
The group has been criticized for its defense of the "right to resist" by Palestinian terrorist organizations and its defense and promotion of violent actions taken against Israel.
Rizvi was also provided a scholarship toward her law degree by the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, which was started by the now-deceased older brother of liberal billionaire George Soros.
Rahman was arrested along with Colinford Mattis, a New York City attorney who was driving the van carrying the explosives. Authorities say a witness came forward to say Rahman was passing out Molotov cocktails to others at protests in Brooklyn early Saturday morning. Authorities released a picture of Rahman holding a Molotov cocktail fashioned out of a Bud Light bottle.
Rahman and Mattis were charged with causing damage to a police vehicle by fire and explosives and face up to 20 years in prison.
Government prosecutors argued that releasing the pair was a mistake given that tensions between protesters and the police remain high.
"We don't believe this is the time to be releasing a bomb-thrower like the defendant into the community," argued federal prosecutor Ian Richardson.
The judge in the case ultimately ruled, however, that the decision by Rizvi and others to guarantee the bail swayed him to grant them home detention.
"Home detention secured by the financial well-being of his entire family and several high-earning colleagues and friends should be an adequate deterrent to further danger to the community," said Judge Steven Gold, whose ruling was held up by Judge Brodie on the same grounds.
Rahman was ordered by the court to forfeit all travel documents and remain in her home with a GPS device attached to her body. All travel must be approved by an officer of the court assigned to her case.