The alleged wannabe jihadist accused of attacking three NYPD cops with a foot-long blade on New Year’s Eve pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a litany of state charges.
Trevor Bickford, 19, of Maine, avoided eye contact with Acting Justice Gregory Carro as he entered the plea during a brief hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Dressed in tan jail garb, Bickford remained expressionless as he was led into the courtroom, his wrists shackled in front of him, for his arraignment on an 18-count indictment.
The New England teenager is accused of lunging at a group of cops working the holiday security detail at the corner of West 52nd Street and Eighth Avenue around 10:10 p.m. on Dec. 31.
In his hands, he held a kukri, a bladed weapon similar to a machete, according to the indictment and court documents.
Bickford — who law enforcement sources said had been on the FBI’s radar for about three weeks before the attack — struck a 23-year-old officer from behind with the knife, fracturing the cop’s skull and leaving a wound that required internal and external stitches, prosecutors said.
He allegedly shouted “Allahu Akbar!” — or “God is great!” — just before the slashings, which also wounded two other officers. One of the cops managed to step back from Bickford, pull his gun and shoot him in the shoulder. Police arrested him afterward.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement that the indictment — including on charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault on a police officer — demonstrates “just how seriously we are treating this incident.”
Six of the state charges against Bickford are terrorism-related, which allows for increased penalties, the DA said.
Bickford is due back in court May 3.
He also appeared in Manhattan federal court on Monday to answer to four counts of attempting to murder officers and employees of the US government. Although he did not enter a plea, he consented to remain behind bars pending his trial.
Federal investigators believe Bickford became radicalized in the summer of 2022, in part by Islamist propaganda that included the teachings of a “spiritual mentor” of al Qaeda.
He became obsessed with Islam, police sources said, and started to read the Quran daily. He was also suffering from depression and had been skipping his medications for more than a year, one source said.
Bragg said in Wednesday’s statement that Bickford planned to carry out jihad, and he targeted the officers because they were both uniformed and armed.
“Trevor Bickford allegedly carried out planned attacks on three members of the NYPD in Times Square on New Year’s Eve as they did their duty to protect our city,” Bragg said. “These brave officers were serving on the frontlines so New Yorkers and visitors celebrating the new year could stay safe.”
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