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Judge sentences second New York lawyer in Molotov cocktail case


Suspended Pryor Cashman associate Colinford Mattis and public interest attorney Urooj Rahman are pictured in photos taken by U.S. authorities following their arrests in New York on May 30, 2020. U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York/Handout via Reuters

A U.S. judge on Thursday sentenced disbarred lawyer Colinford Mattis to one year and one day in prison for his role in setting fire to an empty New York City police car with a Molotov cocktail during May 2020 protests over George Floyd’s death, the Brooklyn U.S. attorney’s office said.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn also ordered Mattis, a former associate at law firm Pryor Cashman, to pay $30,107 in restitution to New York City and to serve one year of supervised release.

Attorneys for Mattis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prosecutors had recommended an 18 to 24-month sentence for Mattis, arguing that targeting a police car with “homemade firebombs is extremely dangerous criminal conduct that warrants a serious sentence.” They made the same recommendation for Mattis’ co-defendant, Urooj Rahman, who was sentenced to 15 months in prison in November.

Mattis requested a time-served sentence, followed by a year of supervised release so he can remain at home with his children.

Rahman, a former public interest lawyer who represented Bronx tenants, and Mattis both pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to commit arson and possess an explosive device.

Prosecutors said Rahman threw a gasoline-filled bottle through the police car’s already-broken window and fled in a minivan driven by Mattis in the early morning hours of May 30, 2020.

The incident took place during protests in New York days after Floyd, a Black man, was killed by a white Minnesota police officer who was later convicted of murder in the case. Police made scores of arrests during the New York protest.

A New York appeals court disbarred both Rahman and Mattis in November.