Terror suspect attends first court hearing since November

This is a sketch of Ciccolo from July 2015.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Terror suspect Alex Ciccolo was back in U.S. District Court in Springfield for the first time since November.  Ciccolo, also known as Ali Al Amriki, was arrested two years ago this month in Berkshire County for allegedly plotting a terrorist attack.

Ciccolo had asked to not attend the past few hearings.  Ciccolo’s mother and stepfather were in court on Tuesday as well.  Ciccolo smiled at them as he entered the courtroom. He was not wearing a Taqiyah, or traditional muslim skullcap, which he has worn in prior court appearances, but did have a long beard, a short pony tail and glasses.  Ciccolo had his eyes closed through a good portion of the hearing, either disinterested or dozing off.

Continuing Coverage: Alexander Ciccolo case

This was the first hearing in front of Federal Judge Mark Mastroianni.  Ciccolo’s co-counsels Ramzi Kaseemy and David Hoose were both in court.  Three attorney’s for the U.S. Government were in court as well.  Most of the hearing was spent arguing about some classified information in this case and if Attorney Hoose will need to go through the timely process to be given special clearance.  Depending on how Judge Mastroianni rules on the motions in front of him, a trial could begin later this year if the material is either declassified or not handed over to the defense.

The next court date is September 7th.  If a plea deal isn’t reached, a trial is expected to last four weeks.

If he’s found guilty, Ciccolo could face life in prison. The 25-year-old had been under FBI surveillance since September 2014 after his father told the FBI that his son wanted to go overseas to fight for ISIS.According to court documents, Ciccolo was plotting an attack on a college campus with guns and pressure cooker bombs. The day before his arrest, he allegedly bought a pressure cooker from the Walmart in North Adams.

Ciccolo has been held at a maximum-security facility in Rhode Island ever since.

Ciccolo was arrested back in July of 2015.  He faces a number of terrorism and weapons-related charges including:

  • Attempting to use weapons of mass destruction
  • Attempting to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization
  • Assault and battery with a dangerous weapon
  • Illegal weapons possession