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Suspect in New Year’s Eve machete attack in New York pleads not guilty

<i>WABC</i><br/>The alleged attack took place close to Times Square on New Year's Eve.
WABC
The alleged attack took place close to Times Square on New Year's Eve.

By Nicki Brown and Lauren del Valle, CNN

The man who allegedly attacked New York police officers with a machete on New Year’s Eve pleaded not guilty to state charges in court Wednesday.

Trevor Bickford, 19, appeared in a Manhattan courtroom wearing a tan uniform with his wrists and ankles shackled. He spoke only to enter his plea.

Bickford was indicted January 6 on 18 counts, nine of which included charges of first-degree attempted murder, assault, aggravated assault on a police officer, attempted aggravated assault on a police officer and attempted assault in furtherance of an act or as a crime of terrorism, according to the indictment.

He is also facing several other charges related to assault, attempted assault and attempted murder.

CNN has reached out to Rosemary Vassallo-Vellucci, Bickford’s attorney with the Legal Aid Society, for comment. Last month, the attorney said her client should be presumed innocent.

On New Year’s Eve, Bickford allegedly entered the security area of the Times Square checkpoint, pulled out a machete and struck an officer with the blade and another officer in the head with the handle, authorities have said. He then swung the blade at a third officer, who shot the suspect in the shoulder, according to the NYPD.

Bickford told authorities during his interview that he said “(Allahu) Akbar” before he walked up and hit the officer over the head with the weapon, according to a criminal complaint.

Prosecutors have alleged the suspect said that all government officials were his target, since they “cannot be proper Muslims because the United States government supports Israel.”

The three officers were hospitalized in stable condition and have since been released.

The suspect was interviewed in December by federal agents in Maine after he said he wanted to travel overseas to help fellow Muslims and was willing to die for his religion, multiple law enforcement officers have said.

In addition to the state charges, Bickford faces federal charges of four counts of attempted murder and is expected back in Manhattan federal court on February 20.

New York prosecutors said they have received body camera footage, grand jury minutes, surveillance video and medical records related to the case, but have yet to receive material requested from the federal government’s case.

Defense motions must be filed by March 22 and prosecutors must respond by April 12, Judge Gregory Carro said. He will issue a decision on May 3.

The-CNN-Wire
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CNN’s Rob Frehse contributed to this report.

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