Frank James pleads not guilty to NYC subway shooting that wounded 10 people

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A man charged with shooting up a New York City subway train last month in an attack that wounded 10 people pleaded not guilty Friday to terrorism and other charges.

Frank James entered the plea in federal court in Brooklyn, where U.S, District Judge William F. Kuntz began the proceeding by asking James, “How are you doing today?”

“Pretty good,” James responded.

Asked about his educational background, James said he attended public schools in the Bronx before earning a GED. He said he also attended some trade schools.

James, 62, is facing charges of committing a terrorist attack or other violence against a mass transportation system and discharging a firearm during a violent crime. Both counts carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The defendant was arrested April 13, about 30 hours after authorities say he drove from Philadelphia and unleashed smoke bombs and dozens of bullets in a train full of morning commuters as it approached a Brooklyn station. The shooting victims ranged in age from 16 to 60; all survived.

Authorities said James’s bank card, cellphone and a key to a van he had rented were found at the shooting scene. Police also said they found the 9mm Glock semiautomatic handgun used in the shooting and traced it to James.

Defense attorney Mia Eisner-Grynberg had cautioned at the time of James’ arrest not to rush to judgment and noted that James alerted police to his whereabouts. He was arrested in Manhattan’s East Village after he called a tip line saying he was at a fast food restaurant in that section of the city.

Eisner-Grynberg declined comment outside court Friday. James, who’s being held without bail, is due back in court July 25.

CBS New York reported James’ lawyers claim federal agents improperly questioned him, and they say the FBI took DNA samples from James and directing him to sign documents without alerting his lawyers.

A motive for the attack is unclear. James posted a series of videos online in the weeks before his arrest in which he airs a host of grievances, including some directed at New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and complains about the number of homeless people in New York City. The videos also include commentary on how easy he felt it would be to commit crimes in the subway system, regardless of an increase in police presence.

Other topics touched on in the videos include Russian President Vladimir Putin, the war in Ukraine and various personal grievances with acquaintances.

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