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Judge releases suspect in plot to attack New York City synagogues

Mahrer was later spotted “casually puffing a vape pen — and smirking — as he strolled free with his lawyer in Lower Manhattan.”

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One of the two men accused of plotting to attack New York City synagogues was set free by a Manhattan judge on Wednesday, even after prosecutors asked for the second time in two weeks that he be held without bail.

According to The New York Post, Assistant District Attorney Edward Burns said that new facts in the case of Matthew Mahrer, 22, should have been enough to keep him in jail after his family paid $150,000 to bail him out on November 21.



Burns said, “We now know that Mahrer, [accused accomplice Christopher] Brown and [a,] third individual, drove to Pennsylvania on November 18 to purchase a firearm. That individual who drove with them has since been arrested by federal authorities.”

He added that before his November 19 arrest, Mahrer had been sending an unnamed person in jail payments for the firearm he and Brown planned to use in the attacks that were prevented last month.

Burns said Mahrer has continued to financially support the convict, who has been locked up for 3 1/2 years for criminal possession of a weapon, even after his own arrest.

He also told the judge that Mahrer had bought a bulletproof vest before he and Brown were arrested carrying weapons and a Nazi armband.

Defense attorney Brandon Lamour Freycinet claimed that the information was already known when Mahrer’s bail was set on November 20. According to the lawyer, his client has bipolar disorder and autism.

After Mahrer was released, he was sent to Elmhurst hospital for a week before returning to his family’s home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and enrolled in a group treatment called Pathways.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Neil Ross sided with the defense attorney but cautioned that Mahrer must continue to appear in court, or his family will forfeit the bail money stating, “Make sure you understand that this is the most important obligation that you’ve had in your life.”

According to the outlet, Mahrer was later spotted “casually puffing a vape pen — and smirking — as he strolled free with his lawyer in Lower Manhattan.” He declined to comment to the Post.

According to prosecutors, the FBI and NYPD had been keeping tabs on Mahrer and Brown, who recently told family members that he wanted to go to New York and buy a gun. Police seized a loaded handgun with an extended magazine and a bulletproof vest from Mahrer’s apartment that he and a friend allegedly planned to use in the synagogue attack.

Both have been charged with counts of conspiracy, criminal possession of a weapon, and criminal possession of a firearm. Brown is also facing terrorism and hate crime charges.
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