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Suspect in New Year’s Eve machete attack pleads guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault, federal prosecutors say

By Maria Sole Campinoti, CNN

(CNN) — The man who attacked three New York City police officers with a machete on New Year’s Eve in 2022 has pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault, the United States Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York announced Thursday.

Trevor Bickford, 20, pleaded guilty Thursday to three counts of attempted murder of officers and employees of the US government and three counts of assault of officers and employees of the US government, US Attorney’s Office spokesperson Nick Biase said.

“A year and one day ago today, this Office charged Trevor Bickford with attempting to murder three NYPD officers while they were on duty protecting the thousands of civilians who flocked to Times Square just over a year ago to celebrate the New Year with friends and family,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a news release Thursday.

“Bickford targeted the iconic yearly celebration to carry out brazen acts of violence and hatred in the name of jihad,” Williams said. “Bickford, as with countless others who have carried out acts of terrorism in support of misguided ideologies, is now going to spend lengthy time exactly where he deserves – in federal prison.”

Bickford traveled from Maine to New York City ahead of the attack, authorities said.

On December 31, 2022, Bickford 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 said. He then swung the blade at a third officer, who shot him in the shoulder, police said.

Bickford later said he carried out his attack to wage jihad, admitting he intended to kill as many military-aged, government-employed men as he could before himself becoming a martyr, according to the US attorney’s office news release, which cited the complaint, indictment and other documents in the public record.

He spent months prior to the attack “consuming materials espousing radical Islamic ideology … and contemplating ways to wage jihad,” the release stated.

According to the release, law enforcement recovered a book from Bickford’s backpack near the scene of the New Year’s Eve attack with a passage highlighted: “Fight in the Name of Allah and in the Cause of Allah. Fight against those who do not believe in Allah. Wage a holy war.”

Bickford faces a maximum sentence of 120 years in prison, up to 20 years for each of the six charges, according to prosecutors.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 11.

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CNN’s Ashley R. Williams contributed to this report.

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