DOJ has until Sept. to seek death penalty for Sayfullo Saipov

At a pretrial hearing in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday, Sayfullo Saipov sat before Judge Vernon Broderick listening to the proceedings via an Uzbek translator on headphones.

His defense team asked that his visitor log in federal prison remain private, but the judge said that due to national security an independent person from the U.S. Attorney's Office would have to approve all visitors.

A grand jury indicted Saipov on eight capital murder and other charges. He allegedly used a Home Depot rental truck to run down people on a West Side bike and pedestrian path last Halloween, was inspired by ISIS, and had plotted the attack a year in advance, investigators said.

Outside the court, lead defense attorney David Patton had no comment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Houle asked for a speedy trial in consideration of the victims, asking for the trial to start in April 2019. But the defense argued it would be a complicated and lengthy case and said it needs until September 2019 to get ready.

The judge set September 1, 2018, as the expected deadline for the U.S. Justice Department in Washington to decide if it will seek the death penalty against Saipov.

Many twists and turns could happen before the tentative trial start date of September 2019. The judge has asked for bimonthly updates from prosecutors, with the first to begin in March when Saipov is due back in court.