Attorneys for Sayfullo Saipov, who is accused of killing eight people and injuring 12 others in a vehicular terrorist attack in New York City last Halloween, have petitioned the government to preclude the death penalty again their client or appoint an independent prosecutor to decide whether the death penalty should be pursued. Saipov's defense team points to President Trump's comments on Twitter advocating what counsel describes as "nakedly political considerations":
Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff......
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2018
The president has also tweeted in support of Saipov receiving the death penalty:
NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2017
The defense team argues that the combined impact of these two tweets prevents Attorney General Jeff Sessions from acting with independent discretion in evaluating whether the death penalty is warranted in Saipov's case. The document is posted in full below.