Accused terror plotter Ciccolo in court for status hearing

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SPRINGFIELD >> The Adams man accused of plotting a terrorist attack on behalf of the Islamic State made a rare appearance in court Thursday, but the government still was not ready to reveal what, if any, further charges he might face.

Alexander Ciccolo, sporting a long beard and wearing a Muslim taqiyah prayer cap, made no statements during the brief status hearing in U.S. District Court in Springfield.

Without giving a specific reason in open court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Deepika B. Shukla asked for another delay in moving forward with the case. He was granted an opportunity to speak privately at sidebar with the judge and defense attorney.

Ciccolo has been accused of formulating a violent plot in support of the Islamic State.

So far, he faces only a weapons possession charge for accepting a small cache of guns from an FBI informant shortly before his July 4 arrest and an assault and battery charge for allegedly attacking a nurse with a pen during a medical screening during his booking.

Judge Katherine Robertson expressed concern about the pace of the 11-month-old case and the amount of time the government has taken to decide whether it's pursuing additional charges.

"There has always been, from Day One, the question whether we were going to see other charges," said David Hoose, Ciccolo's attorney. "It's frustrating to me it's taking this long."

Hoose said the alternative to allowing the government more time to build its case would be to proceed to trial on the existing charges.

Hoose said if that were to happen and his client were found guilty and sentenced, he could immediately face a second trial on additional charges following his eventual release on those weapons and assault charges.

Hoose said under those circumstances, there was no, "feasible option but to go along with the delay."

Ciccolo has been detained at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Rhode island while awaiting trial.

Robertson set July 13 for Ciccolo's next hearing date, which will be just over a week beyond the one-year anniversary of Ciccolo's arrest.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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