Terrorism case against Alexander Ciccolo inches forward

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SPRINGFIELD — A federal judge is still considering whether the defense for an Adams terrorism suspect should know the names of confidential informants.

Otherwise, pretrial discovery of evidence by lawyers is nearly complete in the two-year-old case against Alexander Ciccolo, though it remains unclear when it may reach trial.

Ciccolo has remained in custody since his July 4, 2015, arrest after he had accepted a small cache of weapons from an FBI informant.

Ciccolo had been under surveillance for about six months, via a camera mounted outside of his Adams apartment. He came to the attention of authorities for allegedly stating his desire to fight overseas in support of the Islamic State and to attack a target like a college campus and broadcast executions of students on the internet.

The only piece of discovery evidence outstanding in the case, according to information aired during a hearing in U.S. District Court Tuesday, are the true names of confidential sources who may testify if the case goes to trial.

The defense has contended the names of those potential witnesses — described as "confidential human informants" and "undercover agents" in court files and referred to by abbreviations — are needed to prepare for cross-examination.

The issue had been scheduled for an August hearing. But Judge Mark G. Mastroianni has taken the matter under advisement. He provided no target date for when a decision may be rendered on that issue.

Also discussed Tuesday was whether one of Ciccolo's attorneys, David Hoose, would need to apply for and be granted a security clearance to view some of the government's evidence. Co-counsel Ramzi Kassem already has such a clearance.

D. Andrew Sigler, a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, said he doesn't anticipate the need for a security clearance for Hoose, because the government's evidence up to this point has been declassified.

That could change, depending on how Mastroianni rules on the outstanding evidence. If portions remain classified, the question of a security clearance for Hoose would be revisited.

Ciccolo has pleaded not guilty to charges of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, attempting to use weapons of mass destruction, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and illegal weapons possession.

He incurred the assault and battery charge for allegedly stabbing a nurse in the head with a pen during a medical screening during booking.

According to court records, investigators found at least partially constructed Molotov cocktails in Ciccolo's apartment. Also, he had purchased a pressure cooker — similar to those used in the Boston Marathon bombings — before his arrest.

A pretrial hearing in the case has been set for Sept. 7 at 10 a.m.

Reach staff writer Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249 or @BobDunn413 on Twitter.


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