Trial Begins for ‘Diversity Visa’ Immigrant Charged with ISIS Attack that Killed Eight People in NYC

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The murder trial has started for a legal immigrant who arrived in the United States on the “Diversity Visa Lottery” and is accused of killing eight people in New York City in 2017 as part of a terrorist attack carried out on behalf of the Islamic State (ISIS).

In October 2017, 31-year-old Uzbek national Sayfullo Saipov allegedly mowed down eight individuals in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City after securing a visa in 2010 through the Diversity Visa Lottery.

Five of the victims were visiting New York City from Argentina, while one was on vacation from Belgium. The other two victims were Americans — 32-year-old Darren Drake of New Jersey and 23-year-old Nicholas Cleves of New York.


Saipov’s trial began with prosecutors’ opening statements, according to NBC News:

Prosecutors spoke of the “destruction and horror of that day” and mentioned how Saipov allegedly plowed his victims down to become a member of ISIS. [Emphasis added]

He told the FBI after the rampage that he “felt good about what he did” and wanted to kill as many people as possible, according to the criminal complaint. He planned an attack for about a year, the complaint said. [Emphasis added]

Assistant US attorney Alexander Li makes his opening statement to the jury with Judge Vernon Broderick presiding Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, at Manhattan federal court in New York. Defendant Sayfullo Saipov is charged with killing eight people in a terrorist attack in New York City in 2017. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

As Breitbart News reported, Saipov was known to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which had been surveilling him up until the day before the deadly attack.

The Diversity Visa Lottery randomly gives out about 55,000 visas every year to foreign nationals from a multitude of countries, including those with known terrorist problems such as Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Yemen, and Uzbekistan.

Since 2012, an estimated 550,000 foreign nationals arrived in the U.S. through the Diversity Visa Lottery. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) proposed legislation in 2021 to eliminate the program, but the bill stalled in the Senate.

Saipov is facing the death penalty.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here


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