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     Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere.  Click here for a recent BBC piece on Inner City Press' reporting from the United Nations  Search This Site    Click for March 1, 2011 BloggingHeads.tv re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption by Inner City Press.     Click here for Inner City Press front page

  ICP has published a (double) book about a variety of Bronx-relevant topics -- a review in Commonweal magazine of Dec. 5, 2003, opines  that "Predatory Bender... is as vivid an account of life in the Bronx as you are likely to read" -- click here for sample chapters, here for an interactive maphere for fast ordering and delivery, and here for other ordering information.  See also, "City Lit: Roman a Klepto [Review of ‘Predatory Bender’]," by Matt Pacenza, City Limits, Sept.-Oct. 2004. CBS MarketWatch of April 23, 2004, says the the novel has "some very funny moments," and that the non-fiction mixes "global statistics and first-person accounts." The Washington Post of March 15, 2004, calls Predatory Bender: America in the Aughts "the first novel about predatory lending;" the London Times of April 15, 2004, "A Novel Approach," said it "has a cast of colorful characters."   The Pittsburgh City Paper of Dec. 11, 2003, wrote that it "may, in fact, be the first great American lending malfeasance novel" including "low-level loan sharks, class-action lawyers, corporate bigwigs, hired muscle, corrupt politicians, Iraq War veterans, Wall Street analysts, reporters and one watchdog with a Web site."  And all in The Bronx!   Click here for that review; for more information, contact us.
2014: MRL on Beacon Reader

September 23, 2019

In SDNY Tekashi 6ix9ine Carjacking Video Is Shown But Questioned As Trippie Redd Linked To Bloods

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon, Thread III
The Source - XXL - The Root - etc

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Sept 19 – When Daniel Hernandez, better known as rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, finished three days of cooperating testimony for the government against his former partners in the Nine Trey Bloods gang, conviction seemed likely for defendants Aljermiah "Nuke" Mack and Anthony "Harv" Elisson.   Harv was caught on video apparently car-jacking Hernandez and his driver Jorge Rivera. Video here.   

But then Harv's lawyer Deveraux Cannick began the question the timing and specifics of the carjacking and kidnapping. It coincided with the release of one of 6ixNine's songs; Cannick asked again and again if the rapper had specified the dozens of punches he now claimed while in proffer sessions with the prosecution.   

Hernandez wants the all important 5K1 cooperation letter. Without it he faces a minimum of 47 years and maximum of life. But what will not only insulting the Bloods but also linking other rappers like Trippie Redd to the gang, things may be difficult in or out of jail.   On the third day of the trial it emerged that audio had been recorded of the begining of Hernandez' direct examination, apparently from inside the courtroom.

Judge Engelmayer prohibited any further entry of phones or other electronics.   The government's initial estimate of a two to three week trial now seemed too long. Prosecutor Michael Longyear told Judge Engelmayer the government might complete its case by Wednesday, September 25.

Inner City Press will continue to cover this and other SDNY and 2nd Circuit cases - watch this site, and there is more on Patreon, here.

September 16, 2019

For Drive By Shooting In The Bronx US Attorney Pled Jackson To 60 Months Given By SDNY Judge Castel

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Sept 12 – Jerome Jackson conducted a drive-by shooting on Freeman Street and Prospect Avenue in the South Bronx on September 26, 2018. On September 12, 2019 he was sentenced to 60 months in prison, have been allowed to plead down to possession of ammunition. The drive-by, with three bullets, actually hit the target. Life is cheap, it seems, in The Bronx.

 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge P. Kevin Castel, who when he has discretion is creative in sentencing, here had none. He recited the facts of the shooting, and of the plea.

  One wonders what for example Circuit Judge Richard M. Sullivan, who recently criticized a U.S. Attorney's Office pled deal and warned that he will sentence higher, would have said. Who decided which crimes can be pled down like this, whose life is cheap? Inner City Press will have more on this.

September 9, 2019

In SDNY A Prison Strip Search To Find A Hidden Blade Results In Civil Rights Trial

By Matthew Russell Lee

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Sept 4 – Chance McCurdy was in prison on Riker's Island on February 19, 2015 when someone was slashed by the commissary, with a surgical blade. McCurdy ended up beaten and his lawsuit against the City of New York finally reached trial on September 4 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Gregory H. Woods.

  The courtroom was almost empty. In fact plaintiff McCurdy wasn't there, not produced from the MCC. Instead on the stand was Captain Cheryl Bell, being questioned by McCurdy's lawyer Fred Lichtmacher about the three prior disciplinary actions against her for excessive force and failure to supervise the use of force.

 In response she called the plaintiff a member of the Bloods street gang, who had to be housed in a special Bloods unit on Riker's Island in the Anna M. Kross Center or AMKC. The City's lawyer described McCurdy, when facing a strip search to find the missing blade, as yelling "I'm not stripping... F.U... It's lit."

  Inner City Press has asked to be informed when the six-member jury comes back with a verdict. Watch this site.


Earlier this year in the SDNY Johnny Morgan was suing the United States for a rectal search he endured in the Metropolitan Correctional Center at 150 Park Row, right next to the
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. On April 4 before SDNY Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman, the government presented an expert Roy Lubit who said that Morgan is a "malingerer" and blamed his pain on abuse suffered earlier at the hand of his own mother. But even government expert Lubit said that the rectal entry should not have happened.

  It is, in fact, an outrage. While some might question taxpayer money going to pay damages for what happened to Mr. Morgan, what about public money for an expert witness to insult the torturee? We'll have more on this.

  The Federal Defenders scored a big win in a misdemeanor proceeding that only Inner City Press attended and covered on April 2. They defeated the U.S. Attorney's Office which argued that the simple assault they agreed to on a dispute on a cruise ship required allocution to actual physical conflict. There was case law on the Federal Defenders' side, and a plea to making a threat on the cruise ship - in "international waters" -- was found sufficient. The case was United States v. Batista, 18 Cr. 730 (NRB). The Federal Defenders lawyer was Sabrina P. Shroff, whom Inner City Press has previously covered in the UN bribery cases of Patrick Ho (new Hong Kong documentary here), getting bail for Cheikh Gadio, and of Ng Lap Seng, representing hapless Jeff Yin. The issue in Batista was whether simple assault requires the defendant to "strike or choke." Ms. Shroff cited the US v Denis and US v Chestaro cases, and the matter was quickly disposed by Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in her relatively small courtroom on the 21st floor of 500 Pearl Street. The question is why the U.S. Attorney's Office in this case had not researched basic case law - and whether the defendant Carlos Batista, Junior, from the Dominican Republic, must now be deported. We hope to have more on this.

September 2, 2019

Bronx Drug Dealer Is Sentenced To 18 Years After Rockland County Seller Got 27 Months

By Matthew Russell Lee

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 26 – Miguel Ramirez was sentenced to 218 months or more than 18 years in prison on August 26, for his leadership role in an armed drug conspiracy in Hunts Point, The Bronx. US District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Gregory H. Woods during his sentencing recounted Ramirez as a child living with 12 others with a "managerie of animals," then in jail on Rikers Island as a child, Woods said.

  The government asked for 262 to 327 months, emphasizing that Ramirez stored ammunition in the apartment he shared with his partner and their baby, who now a toddler toddled around the courtroom on August 26. Ramirez' lawyer emphasized society's racism - then turned 180 degrees and implied that Ramirez' co-defendant Hector Palermo, who steered clear of the guns, was not also a victim.

  A comparison not made by Judge Woods on August 26 but needing to be made was to his sentencing the word day before on August 23. The same US Attorney's office asked for only 27 months for a Rockland County man who give deadly heroin to a 28 year old woman. Inner City Press story here. We'll have more on this.

August 26, 2019

As Bronx Deli Is Sued Under FLSA By Madison Ave Firm Judge Caproni Tells Press It Must Be A Slow News Day

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 23 – Two grocery stores on Ogden Avenue in the Bronx are being sued for overtime violations by the law firm of Katz Malinger PLLC on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. On August 23 facing default on the lawsuit a lawyer for one defendant showed up before U.S. District Court for the Southern District Court of New York Judge Valerie Caproni.

  But he was not admitted to the SDNY.

  Judge Caproni advised the attorney, Adeyinka A. Ojo of 87 East 116th Street, to get himself admitted pro hac vice. Then she asked Inner City Press, the only media in her courtroom, What are you covering here?

  Inner City Press replied, I came for the OneCoin, but stayed for the deli.

  Judge Caproni joked, If you are covering the deli it must be a slow news day. (Inner City Press did cover the Trump subpoena argument, which didn't begin until 11 am, here). But there are no small stories, only small journalists. In this case, Ojo asserts that at least one of the plaintiffs only worked at the deli for one day...

   With OneCoin the subject of criminal prosecution a civil case against it was ordered stayed on August 23 by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Valerie Caproni.

  While Konstantin Ignatov's lawyer Jeffrey Einhorn's basis for the stay was "corresponding criminal prosecution," Judge Caproni also chided plaintiffs' lawyers at Levi & Kosinsky for failing to serve or show service on some of the defendants.

  Later in the day the firm wrote that "OneCoin Ltd. and Ruja Ignatova are domiciled in Bulgaria and are believed to be evading service. Sebastian Greenwood, similarly, is domiciled in Sweden, and is believed to be evading service." They are proposing service by Facebook, citing FTC v. Pecon Software Ltd, 2013 WL 4016272, at *5 (SDNY Aug. 7, 2013). Whether Judge Caproni will accept this is not yet clear. Inner City Press will continue to follow these cases.

August 19, 2019

In The Bronx Feliz Killed Victor Chafla From Ecuador Then in SDNY Got 32 Years in Otisville

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 16 – In sentencing a Kenyan drug lord to 25 years on the morning of August 16, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Victor Marrero said that later in the day he had on his docket a Bronx gang member facing 27 years for murder.

 Before 5 pm, Judge Marrero sentenced the man, Richard Feliz, to 32 years.

  While Feliz' guilty plea was to narcotics conspiracy and firearms, the government's sentencing submission recites that on March 25, 2015 Feliz was pursuing an opposing gang member. When this "opp" exited the 50 50 Deli at 1278 Morrison Avenue in The Bronx, "Feliz pointed the .40 gun down a crowded street and fired multiple times. His bullets missed... Instead, one of Feliz' bullets hit an innocent bystander, Victor Chafla, in the head."

   On August 16, one of Chafla's daughter gave a victim's impact statement in court. She spoke of her six other siblings, how their father came to the US from Ecuador to work to support them, how their father came to the US from Ecuador to support them, their pain, and that they wanted justice.

There were two Court Security Officers standing around Feliz' friends and family. Inner City Press was the only media present.

  Judge Marrero cited US v. Booker for the proposition that he did not have to stick with the guidelines, but he did: 240 months on Count 1, 84 months consecutive on Count 2, for  total of 32 years in prison. Feliz requested Otisville; Judge Marrero said he would recommend it and said good day.

  Kenya drug trafficker Baktash Akasha Abdalla faced a life sentence including for the use of machine guns, but got 25 years in jail on August 16 from U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Victor Marrero.

Judge Marrero emphasized that the US Drug Enforcement Agency had played an entrapping or suggesting role. He likened it to attempted murder, and contrasted it to a Bronx gang leader to be sentenced later in the day who really killed someone, but faces a guideline sentence of 27 years. Citing the need to avoid unwarranted sentencing disparities he imposed 25 years and a fine of $100,000. More on Patreon, here.

  Back on July 26, murder in Amsterdam and the possibility of execution in India all came up in an ill-attended Fatico hearing before Judge Marrero, including questions about the credibility of government witness Mr. Vicky Goswami, whom the government describes as "the Akashas' trusted co-conspirator [who] after he was released from a long prison sentence in Dubai moved to Kenya and worked in partnership with Baktash, Ibrahmi and others on their drugs and violence."

  Baktash's lawyer George Robert Goltzer on July 26 mocked the government's reliance on Goswami, pointing at inconsistencies in the 3500 material turned over.

 But Judge Marrero, after praising Golzer and Ibrahim Akasha Abdalla's lawyer Dawn Cardi for their professional presentation, took the government's side. He said that multi-day proffers like Goswami's can result in seeming inconsistencies. But he found no inconsistency on the issues before him: the murder of "Pinky" and Ibrahim's use of a firearm. The case is USA v. Abdalla, et al., 14-cr-00716 (Marrero).

August 12, 2019

Bronxite Jamarr Fowler Says NYPD Broke Into His Home But SDNY Judge Tells Him He Sued Too Late

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 3 – Jamarr Fowler says that New York City Police Department officers from the 52nd Precinct in The Bronx entered his resident without permission, roughed him up and then $3000 were missing. His handwritten Federal lawsuit is dated April 26, 2019 but was not logged in by the pro-se unit of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York until May 21, after apparently being mailed from New York, New York on May 14.

 On August 6 SDNY Judge Lorna G. Schofield told Fowler that his claim was probably time barred. He asked how his lawsuit could be post-marked New York, New York if he lives and seemingly mailed it from The Bronx. Judge Schofield replied that she does not speak for the Postal Service, and set a schedule for the City of New York to file its motion to dismiss.

 Jamarr Fowler asked a few more questions and then walked out. Another satisfied customer. The court was, however, adept in dealing with a commercial dispute about the screening of a Manny Pacquiao boxing match, and has before it a case against Capital One, made all the more timely with the recent data breach there. Who's in your wallet, indeed.

August 5, 2019

SDNY Judge Torres Recounts History of Mill Brook Houses In Sentencing Monge To 5 Years

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, pics

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 24 – When Wesley Monge came up for sentencing for using a firearm during an assault with a deadly weapon around the Bronx' Mill Brook Houses, he may not have known the history of sentencing Judge Analisa Torres of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. While imposing the mandatory minimum five years, Judge Torres with no other media in the courtroom beyond Inner City Press hearkened back to Hunts Point in the 1950s.

  She said her parents were involved in fighting for better housing, resulting in part in the opening of the Mill Brook Houses in 1957, two years before she was born. Judge Torres' sister Pamela C. Torres died of lukemia and the day care center in the Mill Brook Houses was named for her.

  With Monge's family members in the gallery, Judge Torres told them that these housing projects had been a source of hope when they were built. (Any role of Robert Moses was not mentioned). Now there is gunfire and drugs and, Judge Torres added, some people using the elevators as toilets. She urge Mr. Monge, when he gets out of jail, to become part of the solution.  Thank you Judge, he said. The case was USA v. Monge, 18-cr-611 (AT).

July 29, 2019

Kevin Mora Pleads Softly Guilty To Crack Sales In The Bronx Both CJA Lawyers Read Plea Deal To Him

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, pics

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 24 – The dark web was a theme in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on July 24. But after two cases a more local guilty plea was taken in SDNY courtroom of Judge Denise Cote. Kevin Mora, 21, pled guilty to crack and marijuana sales in The Bronx. He has expressed some doubt about his first CJA lawyer and so was temporarily given a second, to confer. At the sentencing he spoke softly, saying that both lawyers had read him the plea agreement he signed. At one point Judge Cote asked, Do you want me to describe again, the terms of the plea agreement?

 It'd be a little better, Kevin Mora answered. His lawyer, the first one, noted that he'd been addicted to drugs but said of course incarcerated he'd had to stop. (A recent trial before SDNY Judge Kimba Wood had testimony about MCC detainees, US cooperators no less, smoking K2 but who's counting?) Mr. Mora himself said he'd had mental issues when young. Something felt not quite right about the plea proceeding. But it was taken, and the sentencing is set for November 15. Watch this site.

July 22, 2019

SDNY Judge Pauley Lays Down the Law to Johnson of Edenwald Houses After Michael Cohen Order

By Matthew Russell Lee

FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, July 17 – Hours after ordering the release of the Michael Cohen search warrant materials, US District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge William H. Pauley III conducted a sentencing proceeding for Jamel Johnson for drug dealing and possession and use of a firearm in the Edenwald Houses in The Bronx. Judge Pauley who recently presided over the graphic trial of James Felton for murder in The Bronx was admonishing Jamel Johnson to try to do better upon his release for his family. Right then Johnson was turned back toward his family in the gallery where Inner City Press was the only media. Johnson was gesticulating, in a way that connoted disinterest at least in the eight year sentence being imposed.

  Judge Pauley said, "You look at me when I'm imposing sentence. Show some respect for the Court or I'll change the sentence right now."

  Johnson nodded. Children continued to make the noise they make, not their fault; no one took them out of the courtroom. At the end the Marshals following the rules did not allow any physical contact. Eight years is a long time. We will continue to follow this, the Felton and associated Bronx cases including, it seems, a confidential sentencing by Judge Preska, and all other SDNY cases.

UN Welcomed Jeffrey Epstein Associate Ghislaine Maxwell For TerraMar Abruptly Disappeared

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon, thread

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 20 – With Jeffrey Epstein remanded on child sex trafficking charges to the Metropolitan Correctional Center, his associate Ghislaine Maxwell has closed down her TerraMar Project which had been welcomed in the United Nations in the Secretary General's press briefing room, before UNSG Antonio Guterres had Inner City Press thrown out.

  On 25 June 2013 Ghislaine Maxwell appeared in the UN briefing room pitching TerraMar. Inner City Press asked questions, for example on this video from 7:12. Then this:

From: G Max <ghislaine@theterramarproject.org>
Date: Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 9:38 AM
Subject: The TerraMar Project To: matthew.lee [at] innercitypress.com
Dear Matthew, It was a pleasure to meet you. As promised, here is some information on the TerraMar Project – you can see all the latest press if you go to http://theterramarproject.org/thedailycatch/category/press/ - the UN talk, Bloomberg and CNN being the latest. Don’t forget to apply for your passport at theterramarproject.org – your citizenship is pre-approved! Best, Ghislaine 

Inner City Press has been on Terramar's mailing list since. As recently as July 11, 2019 TerraMar sent out an email about clownfish. But now its website says "The TerraMar Project is sad to announce that it will cease all operations. The web site will be closed."

  As so often at the UN under Guterres, corruption once exposed just tries to slink away. Guterres is financially linked to CEFC China Energy. When CEFC's Patrick Ho was indicted and convicted for UN bribery, Guterres never started any audit but instead has Inner City Press which asked roughed up and and thrown out, 382 days now. But the net is tightening. And there are others connected; more on Patreon here. Watch that and this site.

Epstein had his bail application denied on July 18 and will remain in the Metropolitan Correctional Center. His next court appearance is July 31. Judge Richard M. Berman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York gave a summary of his forthcoming written order, saying that Epstein is a danger to the community and citing the July 15 testimony of victims Annie Farmer and Courtney Wild. He called the proposed bail package woefully inadequate and added his view that no package would have outweighed the danger to the community. The public's interest in a speedy trial was outweighed by the need to prevent any miscarriage of justice.

 Meanwhile the SDNY prosecutors more quietly cut a cooperation agreement with another child sex trafficking Anthony Darby.

   Inner City Press had gone to the SDNY courtroom of Judge Paul Engelmayer to cover another matter. But inside the courtroom a shackled man was pleading guilty. The courtroom deputy came over to say this was not the case Inner City Press had come to cover. But Inner City Press stayed to cover it. Soon Assistant US Attorney Wolf requested a sidebar with Judge Engelmayer.

  The reason quickly became clear. Darby was pleading guilty to 14 counts, sex trafficking of minor and conspiracy, in exchange for cooperation he would get a 5K1.1 letter - in April 2020. Judge Engelmayer to his credit, unlike at least two other SDNY Judges, did not lawlessly order the Press to leave. And for that reason for now Inner City Press is reporting only these bare bones facts: that amid criticism of the Jeffrey Epstein non prosecution agreement, this Darby deal is taking place in the SDNY. Is it a good deal? We'll have more on this.

  That Jeffrey Epstein, now in the Metropolitan Correctional Center by Foley Square, would be denied bail on July 18 at 11:30 am was widely predicted. On July 17, after Judge Berman moved the time for his decision from 9:30 to 11:30 am the next day, Assistant US Attorney Alison Moe wrote to him: "The Government respectfully submits this letter to briefly respond to one aspect of the defendant’s July 16, 2019 letter (ECF No. 24), and to provide the Court with additional information regarding the defendant’s foreign passport. The defendant’s July 16, 2019 letter asserts: “[A]s for the Austrian passport the government trumpets, it expired 32 years ago. And the government offers nothing to suggest—and certainly no evidence—that Epstein ever used it.” (ECF No. 24 at 7). In fact, the passport contains numerous ingress and egress stamps, including stamps that reflect use of the passport to enter France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. The Government further notes that the defendant’s submission does not address how the defendant obtained the foreign passport and, more concerning, the defendant has still not disclosed to the Court whether he is a citizen or legal permanent resident of a country other than the United States." Watch this site.

July 15, 2019

In SDNY For 1997 Bronx Murders Diaz and Acosta Both Get Life Sentences Then 5 Years Supervision

By Matthew Russell Lee, Periscope, Photos

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 12 – After a long trial of two defendants involving the Bronx murders of Alex Ventura and Aneudis Almonte 22 years ago on 22 December 1997 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Kevin Castel, on March 29 the jury returned nine guilty verdicts on 12 counts. For Defendant Robert Acosta it was guilty on Counts 1 through 5 but non guilty on Count 6. For Defendant Jose Diaz it was non guilty on Counts 1 and 2, but guilty on Counts three through six. See Inner City Press' 29 March 2019 story here.

  The three not-guilty verdicts made no difference. On July 12 Inner City Press was again present when Judge Castel imposed life sentences on both men, adding for each five years of Supervised Released which he said he hoped will never be relevant. He urged them to apologize to the members of the victims' families, one of whom said in Spanish "estoy conforme," translated as "I am at peace," i.e. in that the defendants will have a long time to think about it. Judge Castel wished them both a long life to do just that: to contemplate what they did.

Judge Castel said, I am here as the representative of society. He also spoke for the legal system and even the Constitution when he thanked the defense lawyers for doing their jobs. They are not hear to be make the judge happy, he said, or to make the prosecutors happy. They are here under the canons of their profession and the Constitution to zealously represent their clients.

Both Acosta and Diaz quietly said they understand their appeal rights. Inner City Press will continue to cover this and other cases.
Substantial jail sentenced will be imposed, and Inner City Press will be there to report on the sentencing. The case is United States v. Robert Acosta and Jose Diaz, 18 Cr. 80 (PKC).
July 8, 2019

In SDNY Murky Mag Court Bronx Murder Defendant Then Secret Sessions No Case Numbers

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon Scope

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 3 – While many even most cases in the Magistrates Court of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York are sealed or have no case number given, on July 3 before Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses things hit a new level of murkiness. A defendant was brought in shackled at 6 pm. But after his Federal Defender and the Assistant US Attorney  had what seemed to be a routine conversation, Judge Moses started summoning them to to office outside of the courtroom. It happened three times, with Pre-Trial Services invited in as well.