A pipe bomb he planted in Seaside Park also exploded, though no injuries were reported. Federal Judge Richard Berman, who presided over the trial, imposed the sentence Tuesday in NY.
Rahimi told the court that he does not "harbor hate for anyone". Rahimi was convicted by a jury in October of setting off weapons of mass destruction.
Ahmad Khan Rahimi, an Afghan-born immigrant who worked quietly behind the counter of his family's fast-food restaurant before building and planting the bomb that exploded in Manhattan in 2016, was sentenced on Tuesday to two life terms in prison. He said consecutive life sentences would not "show the world justice".
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman in Manhattan said it was hard to reconcile the "reasonable enough" man he saw in court with the terrorist who tried to kill as many people as he could when he left his home early the morning of September 17, 2016, with two pressure-cooker explosives and a bag full of smaller bombs.
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On Monday, in an interview with WNBC, Rahimi's father called his son a terrorist, but said Rahimi is glad no one died in the incidents.
"Since his arrest, Mr. Rahimi has completed classes in business, entrepreneurship and drama while in BOP (Federal Bureau of Prisons) custody", the letter said.
Rahimi, prosecutors said, gave inmates copies of terrorist propaganda and jihadist materials, including speeches and lectures by al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, a USA -born cleric who inspired attacks on America and was killed in a US airstrike in September 2011.
Rahimi even laughed during the conversation, prosecutors claimed.
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The device four blocks north failed to explode.
Police arrested Rahimi on September 19, 2016, after a shootout outside the Linden, New Jersey, doorway where Rahimi had been sleeping.
"My father failed like the system failed him", Rahimi said.
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Rahimi faces separate charges in other jurisdictions in connection with the Seaside Park bomb, a backpack containing improvised explosive devices found the following day at a transit station in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and the shootout with police before he was taken into custody.