Trial date set for Adams resident Alexander Ciccolo in alleged terror plot
SPRINGFIELD — By the time Alexander Ciccolo's trial on terrorism-related charges begins in June, he will have been in custody for nearly three years.
Ciccolo, 25, was arrested July 4, 2015, after accepting a small cache of weapons from an FBI informant.
The Adams man had been under surveillance by the FBI for at least six months prior to his arrest via a camera mounted outside his apartment. His online communications also were under scrutiny.
During a status hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Judge Mark G. Mastroianni set a trial date of June 18.
Ciccolo came to the attention of investigators after his estranged father, a Boston Police captain, alerted them about his son's expressed interest in going overseas and fighting alongside the Islamic State.
The informant who provided the weapons was allegedly in contact with Ciccolo while he hatched a plot to attack a target like a college cafeteria in support of the Islamic State, and to broadcast student executions.
According to court records, investigators found at least partially constructed Molotov cocktails in Ciccolo's apartment, and he had purchased a pressure cooker — similar to those used in the Boston Marathon bombings — before his arrest. Ciccolo allegedly disclosed plans to pack the cooker with gunpowder, shrapnel and debris, and detonate it.
He has been held at the Donald W. Wyatt detention facility in Rhode Island since his arrest. He also allegedly stabbed a nurse in the head with a pen during a medical screening.
The selection of a trial date comes about one month after Mastroianni dealt a blow to Ciccolo's defense team — attorneys David Hoose and Ramzi Kassem — by denying their motion to reveal the identities of government informants and operatives with whom Ciccolo was allegedly in contact online.
Ciccolo's attorneys argued that information was important for more effective cross-examination and potential impeachment of the credibility of those individuals, should they testify at trial.
In his ruling, Mastroianni said the government had provided enough of a credible description of their concerns regarding national security to justify withholding that information.
He said he could not disclose in public court filings what those concerns were.
Ciccolo has pleaded not guilty to charges of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, attempting to use weapons of mass destruction and illegal weapons possession. He also was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in the attack on the nurse.
If convicted on all charges, he faces up to life in prison.
Bob Dunn can be reached at email@example.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.
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