ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Defendants Alexanda Amon Kotey, 36, and El Shafee Elsheikh, 32, two militant fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) charged for their alleged participation in a brutal hostage-taking scheme that resulted in the deaths of four American citizens, today made multiple appearances here in federal court.
At 11:30 a.m. EST, both defendants appeared separately via video link for their respective detention hearings before U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa C. Buchanan. Both defendants waived their detention hearing, and were remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals.
At 2:00 p.m. EST, both defendants appeared separately via video link for their respective arraignment hearings before Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III. Both defendants waived formal readings of the indictment, pleaded not guilty, and requested a trial by jury.
Judge Ellis found that the case is unusual and complex, will require a considerable amount of discovery, and may include classified information. As such, Judge Ellis found that the ends of justice outweigh the interests of the public and the defendants in proceeding to trial within the 70-day deadline established by the Speedy Trial Act.
The next court appearance for both defendants is a status conference scheduled for Jan. 15, 2021.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:20-cr-239.