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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

January 20, 2020

In SDNY Mercado Charged With Pistol Shot in the Bronx Claims It Was Only BBs But Denied Bail

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Decrypt - LightRead - Honduras - Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 10 – Orlando Mercado, charged with providing a pistol to another man named Gonzalez who shot at the owner of a parking lot in the Bronx where the duo allegedly sold drugs, argued for bail on January 10 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Barbra Freeman. 

  It was a presumption case, given the charge of weapons in connection with drugs. But Mercado's assigned Criminal Justice Act panel lawyer Sabrina Shroff argued that Mercado is a drug addict and should be bailed to a residential drug program.  

 Shroff also contested the strength of the evidence, stating that one of the witnesses is a cooperator and that the pistol at issue was a b.b. gun. 

   When Assistant US Attorney Domenic Gentile replied that Mercado had been breaking into cars in his Bronx neighborhood to steal things to sell to feed his drug habit, Judge Freeman asked it might not be that he broken into cars to sleep in them. 

 For a moment it looked like Mercado might be bailed out. But ultimately Judge Freeman said she had no idea where Mercado would live, if he would return to court and that he was not, in fact, a danger to the community.   

It was a remand to prison without prejudice to a renewed bail application, perhaps to Judge Freeman if she is available, or to the judge covering the Magistrates Court when the application is made. She approved funding for the transcript in that event. The case is US v. Gonzalez, et al., 19-cr-906 (Furman / Freeman).

January 13, 2020

Ivorian Mission to UN Ran Over Bronxite Donald Lewis Then Removed Case to SDNY

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Decrypt - LightRead - Honduras - Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 8 – A car owned by the Ivory Coast Mission to the United Nations ran over pedestian Donald Lewis in The Bronx on November 24, 2018. Beyond no-fault insurance, asserting the Ivorian Mission's negigence, Lewis sued in state court in the Bronx.

   Nearly immediately, the Mission snatched the case away from the Bronx state court and removed it to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In its notice of removal, the Mission's lawyers wrote that "for reference, Cote d'Ivoire is also known as the Ivory Coast, which is a country located on the south coast of West Africa."

    They did not mention French colonialism, or Laurent Gbagbo, or now the president installed after him trying to stay in power, a question on which the UN has refused to answer written questions from Inner City Press.

   The notice of removal included a letter from Ivorian Deputy Permanent Representative Desire G. Wulfran, that Mission staffer Diarra ADAMA was in fact driving the car, diplomatic license plate 0126ACD, on November 24, 2018.  

On January 8 the case came before SDNY Judge George B. Daniels, and Inner City Press was there. There were disputes about discovery, between lawyers Richard S. Weiss of Koenigsberg & Associates PC and Keane & Bernheimer PLLC;  a future conference date was set. Inner City Press, banned from the UN for its questions about the colonial corruption of UN Sec-Gen Antonio Guterres, will continue to follow this case. It is Lewis v. Permanent Mission of Cote d'Ivoire to the UN, et al., 19-cv-1375 (Daniels).

January 6, 2020

In SDNY Wilson Perez For 2017 Kidnapping In The Bronx Gets 5 Years Shaved To 3 After Cold In MDC

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Decrypt - LightRead - Honduras - Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 2 – In August 2017 Wilson Perez and two others kidnapped a person they believe tricked them about robbing a van full of drugs in The Bronx. They pistol-whipped the person, the gun went off and the person jumped out of the car onto the Major Deegan Expressway.

   Perez was sentenced to five years, on a Guideline of 135 to 168 months, but like many defendants the Supreme Court's decision in US v. Davis put him up for re-sentencing. This took place on January 2 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Analisa Torres, with only Perez' family and Inner City Press in the gallery.

   Perez' lawyer Sarah Kunstler argued that Torres has been working as a barber while in prison, where he was assaulted twice breaking his jaw and bones around his eye socket. When the power went off in the MDC in Brooklyn, the titanium screws in him caused extra pain.

    Judge Torres recited the crime, and the punishment. She reduced his five years to three years, drawing a thank you from Perez and his family. He still may face deportation. Kunstler said if "time served," the order of removal might not happen. Now, it is not known. The case is US v. Perez, 17-cr-5013 (Torres).December 30, 2019

Yonkers Detective Who Lied About Bronx Drugs Pleads To Misdemeanor As Inner City Press Films

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - CJR - PFT

NYC CRIMINAL COURT, Dec 27 – Sean Fogarty waited in the front row of Manhattan Criminal Court arraignments part on December 27, waiting with his lawyer to get the deal of his life, a deal not afforded to most defendants.

   As a detective with the Yonkers Police Department, and member of a task force executing a warrant at 3410 Barker Avenue in The Bronx in April 2018, Fogarty outright lied as to where he had searched and found drugs.

      The warrant covered only the first and second floor, but Fogarty illegal searched the third floor, and then lied that the drugs he found were come from the floors below.   

 Calvin Powell spent five months in jail after Fogarty's perjured grand jury testimony. He had been on federal Supervised Release. Now he is suing.

   Inner City Press, which was in the arraignment part for Fogerty's plead-down to a misdemeanor with no jail time, live streamed his exit from the courtroom in the imprompty media pen set up in the lobby, here.

  While the state court at 100 Centre Street is more run down than its nearby Federal counterparts, filming is allowed inside the building. Inner City Press will have more on and like this.

December 23, 2019

Defendant Horge Tells SDNY Judge Swain of Stabbings In MCC Computers Unsuited for Discovery

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 19 – Defendant Ernest Horge on December 19 said in open court that there are stabbings in the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

 His court appointed lawyer Matthew D. Myers described non-functional computers to review discovery in the MCC, requiring him to print out nine inches of documents from a hard drive the US Attorney's Office provided him.

   U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Laura Taylor Swain, who has also received handwritten letters from Horge's family members and filed them in the docket after redacting children's names, patiently asked Horge about his medication.

   But Horge had more to say. He insisted that the gun was found in someone else's room, in someone else's apartment.

     He said the prosecutors, here represented by AUSA Frank Balsamello, were just "using 924(c) as a bargaining tool." He said everybody loves him, he has a great sense of humor. He rhymed Prosecutors lying and kids crying, and called the whole situation a "Star Spangled Banner blueprint for genocide."

  That said, the case will continue, with a conference on February 27 and motions due on March 5. The case is US v. Horge, 19-cr-96 (Swain).

December 16, 2019

In Trial For Murder of Bronxite Shaquille Malcolm Scrappy Crossed By AUSA Sassoon With Berman In Court But Not Facebook

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
Honduras - The Source - The Root - etc

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 11 – On the second day of 2014 in The Bronx, New York Shaquille Malcolm was repeatedly shot and killed in a building in the Allerton section.

In arraignments that followed, Inner City Press reported that the death penalty was on the table, including as to a co-defendant who has since pled guilty to a superseding indictment, Gyancarlos Espinal.   

On December 4 the two remaining co-defendants Arius Hopkins and Theryn Jones a/k/a Old Man Ty were on trial before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.


On December 11 the trial culminated with Arius Hopkins taking the witness stand to testify on his own behalf.

He was cross examined by Assistant US Attorney Danielle Sassoon, with other AUSAs and US Attorney Geoffrey Berman himself in the gallery along with, as the only media, Inner City Press. (The US Attorney's Office has thrice declined Inner City Press' request they make available their admitted exhibits for this trial and for the OneCoin trial, still withheld).

  AUSA Sassoon hammered away at Arius a/k/a Scrappy: doesn't his gang have rules?

 He asked, like what kind of rules?

  Does it have rules, yes or no?

 Not necessarily.

  Judge Kaplan admonished Hopkins, but it's his life, and if he is found guilty, it will be his sentence.

  After the cross examination, in the hall Inner City Press remarked to US Attorney Berman on Sassoon's appellate argument earlier in the day, which it also covered, defending one of Judge Kaplan's sentencings, in a brothel finance case.

 "Ten a.m.," he said, clearly aware.

 Inner City Press waited for the next elevator. On December 12 the government may or may not put on a final rebuttal witness. Then the closings, no jury on Friday - and then, one imagines, a verdict. Inner City Press will request notice, and report on it. Watch this site.

  On December 10 the lawyer for Arius Hopkins a/k/a Scrappy wrote to Judge Kaplan why his Instagram expert should be allowed, despite or because of Facebook refusing to even answer about it customer: "I write to provide an offer of proof regarding testimony about Instagram. The proof is that Arius Hopkins held himself out and/or was known as a MacBalla before the murder of Shaquille Malcolm. This proof refutes the government’s contention (advanced through witness testimony) that Ty Jones made Hopkins a MacBalla as a reward for the killing of Malcolm. It is therefore relevant under FRE 401. The testimony is also admissible under FREs 701 and 702. If Justin Cuomo the witness discussed in court today testifies, he will say that he is a senior analyst at John Cutter Investigations Inc. (“Cutter),” a licensed private investigations company bonded in New York and elsewhere. Part of the investigatory work of Cutter is searching and analyzing communications and posts on social media and the use and operation of different platforms, including Instagram. Mr. Cuomo was taken seminars on social media, including Instagram, and has conducted research about Instagram’s operation and functionality. He is also an Instagram user and has been so for the past seven years. He thus has practical knowledge about how it works. Notably, Hopkins opened his Instagram account on 7/28/2013, less than seven years ago. See AH DX P (subscriber information about Hopkins’ account provided by the government in discovery). Mr. Cuomo would further state that: • “scrappyballa” is an active Instagram account • Anyone can log in and search the account • A post with a photograph was made of Hopkins on 9/10/13 and the username “scrappyballa” appears (AH DX Q) o Under the photo it says: “scrappyballa OUT HERE LATE NIGHT ! MACCIN WIT THA GOONS” • Associated with the 9/10/13 post is a comment that reads: rebeccaxmariex3 @scrappyballa uncle arius don’t make me f*ck you up!!!!”

Under the comment is a reference “325w”, which means the comment was made 325 weeks ago1 Mr. Cuomo would also testify that the reference or tag @scrappyballa contained in the comment is a static thing and that it was made 326 weeks ago. It does not change, and even if the username was changed or created after the post and comment (which the defense does not believe to be the case) any change is unrelated to the @scrappyballa reference or tag in the comment, and cannot cause the reference to or tag to change. Consequently, as of 326 weeks ago around the time of the posting on 9/10/13 Hopkins was going by or being referred to as scrappyballs on Instagram. In addition, the Instagram user information indicating that Hopkins opened the account on 7/28/13 (Ex. A), also suggests that Hopkins opened the account with username scrappyballa. .However, we have not been able to confirm this fact through Facebook/Instagram. Two subpoenas were served on them – returnable 12/5/19 and 12/10/19 – and Facebook/Instagram failed to comply both times in violation of the subpoenas. It was the expectation that in addition to explaining the user information document, a representative of Facebook/Instagram could also have explained the @scrappyballa reference or tag in the rebeccaxmariex3 comment." Inner City Press will continue to cover this.

 Earlier on December 10, after cooperator Costello described his non prosecution agreement for crimes in the Courtlandt Avenue area he said that defendant Old Man Ty (Jones) told him that Scrappy (Hopkins) was "the young 'un that handled that for me." The "that" being the killing of Shaquille Malcolm.

 There were several rounds of lawyers' arguments, with Judge Kaplan denied Article 29 motions and recounting stories from previous trials. He recalled a long gun being pointed at the jury and, when he said don't point there, at him. He quoted Judge Rifkin, When you're ahead, get out of the courtroom.
 
  But he was delayed by several "just one more thing" interventions by lawyers. There were jury notes asking why El Dorado and Fat Boy were not subpoened and made to testify; there were medical procedures for jurors and alternates. On December 11 the trial doesn't start until 10:45 am, so that AUSA Sassoon can argue before the Second Circuit, an appeal from Judge Kaplan no less. Watch this site.

 December 9 saw the testimony of the cooperator whom shooter Alexander Melendez recruited to make a call to police to sent them elsewhere in the neighborhood looking for a gun. He didn't make the call. But on March 9 he was played his jail house call with Arius Hopkins and said because it was recorded he spoke in "subliminals."

  Later came a medical examiner, though not the one who conducted the autopsy. The prosecution insisted that the defense say on the record they had waived their confrontation rights, something they declined to do beyond noting they had not objected to the witness. She said the wounds on Shaquille Malcolm's forehead were most probably gazing wounds.

  A women who found Shaquille Malcolm in his building's lobby said when she called 9-1-1 they told her to kick the body to see if it moved. She did not do so.

   Testifying against the two defendants has been cooperator Alexander Melendez. On December 4 he described using a .22 to shoot and kill Shaquille Malcolm, with orders and firepower given by the two men with six lawyers sitting at the defense table.

 On December 5 Arius Hopkins' lawyer Glenn A. Garber prepared stacks of transcripts and other documents in order to cross examine Melendez. But to question after question, Melendez said "I don't remember." He didn't remember what he had said in proffer sessions.

  This resulted in a Q&A straight out of Becket:

Garber: "You remember you said you didn't remember?"

Melendez: "I don't remember that."

  One thing Melendez did remember was what prisons he has been in. After state prison in Elmira, where those who allegedly ordered him to commit murder put money in his commissary for food and clothing and he apparently had a television set stolen, he's been in the MCC, MDC and GEO, which he said is in Queens.

  Melendez is represented by CJA lawyer Matthew Kluger, who has been in the gallery throughout his testimony, sometimes behind Inner City Press, sometimes on the other side. Judge Kaplan asked those in the back of the courtroom not to remonstrate; regardless, Melendez kept glancing back at them. In the hall, some said, "That [N-word] be lying." We'll have more on this.

 And on this: early on December 5 Inner City Press asked the US Attorney's Office press department to make available its exhibits in this case, and in the completed OneCoin / US v. Mark Scott trial, as they have in other Mafia, rapper and other cases. At day's end, no exhibits, not even a response. We'll have much more on this.

   An issue is the use of a rap or hip-hop song as evidence. Arius Hopkins' lawyer Glenn A. Garber had asked that prospective jurors be asked if they were familiar with "the genre of music called gansta rap."  

On December 4, Assistant US Attorney Danielle R. Sassoon argued that questions about the song - a copy of which does not appear to have been uploaded by the US Attorney's Office unlike with GUMMO and Billy in the #6ix9ine trial also known as US v. Jones - should be limited.

  Such songs and lyrics are also being used by the US Attorney's Office in another SDNY case Inner City Press has covered, US v. Darrell Lawrence, et al., 19-cr-761 (Oetken). It is an emerging and accelerating First (and Fifth) Amendment issue, leading Inner City Press to raise folk-type song SDNY questions.

   Judge Kaplan reserved judgment on what he will allow on cross-examination. This case is US v. Jones, et al., 17-cr-791 (Kaplan).   

December 9, 2019

In SDNY Trial For Murder of Bronxite Malcolm Cooperator Remembers Nothing Citing GEO in Queens

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
Honduras - The Source - The Root - etc

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 5 – On the second day of 2014 in The Bronx, New York Shaquille Malcolm was repeatedly shot and killed in a building in the Allerton section.

In arraignments that followed, Inner City Press reported that the death penalty was on the table, including as to a co-defendant who has since pled guilty to a superseding indictment, Gyancarlos Espinal.   

On December 4 the two remaining co-defendants Arius Hopkins and Theryn Jones a/k/a Old Man Ty were on trial before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.

   Testifying against them was now cooperating co-defendant Alexander Melendez. On December 4 he described using a .22 to shoot and kill Shaquille Malcolm, with orders and firepower given by the two mean with six lawyers sitting at the defense table.

 On December 5 Arius Hopkins' lawyer Glenn A. Garber prepared stacks of transcripts and other documents in order to cross examine Melendez. But to question after question, Melendez said "I don't remember." He didn't remember what he had said in proffer sessions.

  This resulted in a Q&A straight out of Becket:

Garber: "You remember you said you didn't remember?"

Melendez: "I don't remember that."

  One thing Melendez did remember was what prisons he has been in. After state prison in Elmira, where those who allegedly ordered him to commit murder put money in his commissary for food and clothing and he apparently had a television set stolen, he's been in the MCC, MDC and GEO, which he said is in Queens.

  Melendez is represented by CJA lawyer Matthew Kluger, who has been in the gallery throughout his testimony, sometimes behind Inner City Press, sometimes on the other side. Judge Kaplan asked those in the back of the courtroom not to remonstrate; regardless, Melendez kept glancing back at them. In the hall, some said, "That [N-word] be lying." We'll have more on this.

 And on this: early on December 5 Inner City Press asked the US Attorney's Office press department to make available its exhibits in this case, and in the completed OneCoin / US v. Mark Scott trial, as they have in other Mafia, rapper and other cases. At day's end, no exhibits, not even a response. We'll have much more on this.

December 2, 2019

Crime Rival Shot By James Felton in 2016 Edwin Romero Gets 35 Years From SDNY Judge Preska

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC The Times (UK) Honduras - The Source 

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 26 –     In December 2016 in The Bronx Edwin Romero robbed a drug dealer who worked for a rival gang. The leader of that gang, James Felton, came to 175th Street and Weeks Avenue and shot Romero four times, causing Romero to lose his right eye.

   This injury, and the US Attorney's sentencing memorandum in Felton's case which described Romero "turn[ing] to walk away" before Felton shot him, were raised by Romero's defense lawyer Michael K. Bachrach at Romero's sentencing on November 26 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Loretta A. Preska.

    The problem was, Romero in pleading guilty a year ago to conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine also stipulated to having shot and killed Jose Montalvo on May 13, 2004, also on 175th Street, this at the corner of Monroe Avenue, and to a series of crime since.

    At the sentencing Assistant US Attorney Frank J. Balsamello describe Romero has having thrown a loaded gun into a taxi with his then-pregnant girlfriend, and having recruited a generation of young men on Weeks Avenue to sell crack.

     Bachbach, in a stretch, asked Judge Preska for the 10 year minimum sentence, closing with the concept that mitigation is not making an excuse.    Judge Preska, after reciting Romero's crimes which led to quiet groaning and even some tears in the courtroom gallery where Inner City Press was the only media, imposed a sentence of 420 months or 35 years, to be followed by five years of supervised release. (Romero would be 72 years old by then).

  She said the sentence should be publicized as a matter of general deterrence. The SDNY and Federal court system generally, while often moving in that direction, could better facilitate reporting, particularly in real-time. But here is this report. The case is US v. Romero, 17-cr-123 (Preska).

November 25, 2019

Bad Boys 2 Actor Arrested for Dealing Crack And Ordered Jailed In SDNY With Only Inner City Press Present

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon
BBC The Times (UK) Honduras - The Source 

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 22 –  A actor with a speaking role in the Bad Boys 2 movie with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence was arrested for selling crack and was presented in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrates Court past 5 pm on November 22 with Inner City Press the only media in the courtroom. This is an exclusive report.

    The defendant is Dennis McDonald; his father who is a maintenance supervisors at a Key Foods supermarket in Manhattan was in the Magistrates Court gallery along with Inner City Press.    The father's offer to sign a $100,000 bond did not result in his actor-son's release.

 Instead, Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn ordered McDonald detained, while advising his lawyer to try to find a 90-day drug treatment program outside of New York City then to re-apply for bail.

     The charge is of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 280 grams and more of cocaine base a/k/a crack.

    Inner City Press asked the office next to the courtroom for the docket number but was told they had no paperwork. Further Inner City Press investigation has discovered more about the case. More on Patreon here. Watch this site.

November 18, 2019

Murder of Shopkeeper from The Gambia and The Bronx Yields 7 Year Sentence For SDNY Cooperator

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
Honduras
BBC The Times (UK) The Source 

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 16 –   Bubacarr Camara came to The Bronx from The Gambia, hoping to bring his wife and son to join him. Every day he woke up and went to work in the BNC General Merchandise T-shirt Spot on Manhattan's Upper West Side, on Amsterdam Avenue near 104th Street.   

  Then in the middle of the day on June 18, 2015 he was shot and killed by robbers. Along with the $279 they stole from Bubacarr Camara, they also took the store's rudimentary video surveillance camera.  They threw the camera and storage device, but not the money, into the river.

    Four and a half years later on November 15, 2019 a man who pled guilty to the murder of Bubacarr Camara came up for sentencing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York before Judge Paul G. Gardephe.

    In the gallery where Inner City Press was the only media, there were a number of Assistant US Attorneys but no family member or friend of Bubacarr Camara while he had been alive.    AUSA Jessica Feinstein, signing for US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, had a week before written to Judge Gardephe that "we have been unsuccessful at contacting the family members of murder victim Bubacarr Camara."

    Of course, this can happen when sentencing takes place long after the murder and also long after the guilty plea. The government's letter gives no indication of any attempt to reach Bubacarr's friends or co-workers such as Dong Kun Cho, or his many family members in The Gambia.

    Why in the courtroom's gallery along with Inner City Press were there detectives and Assistant US Attorneys? Was it to avenge Bubacarr Camara or avenge his distant family and still-young son?

No. It's that this defendant had, after the murder, agreed to cooperate with the US Attorney's office.

    Now he was asking to be released for "time served," and the US Attorney's office in context supported the request in their 5K1 letter.     Despite having covered the trial in which this defendant testified, Inner City Press is choosing here not to publish his name.

  His lawyer, whom we will also leave unnamed, argued that he will be in danger (though not as much, it must be noted, as Bubacarr Camara was at midday on the Upper West Side of Manhattan).

   AUSA Feinstein requested, and Judge Gardephe granted, the sealing of the transcript of the sentencing and most documents connected to it.

    The court docket is left with an indictment, under then US Attorney Preet Bharara, that did not even name the victim and decedent, Bubacarr Camara, and got the address of his place of work and place of death wrong, listing it as 2251 Seventh Avenue, Manhattan.

   While the US Sentencing Guidelines in this case of murder called for a life sentence - plus 15 years - Judge Gardephe imposed a sentence of seven years, which minus the 52 months to defendant has already served while cooperating with the government comes to 32 additional months, or two years and eight months.

    Seven years for a human life should be subject to scrutiny and public debate; certainly the victim's family, friends and community have a right to know, denied to them by the sealing of these records. It could have been worse, or more lenient: recently a man who bribed the United Nations, Francis Lorenzo, got time served at the urging of SDNY prosecutors, here.

    Inner City Press will have more on this. It is also covering at least three recent trials in which cooperating witnesses were used in exchange for 5K1 letters and requests for time served, starting with Daniel Hernandex a/k/a Tekashi 6ix9ine (who the US Attorney's Office also called a model cooperator), to be sentenced by SDNY Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on December 18. Inner City Press will live-tweet the proceeding if it can.

    Then there are those who took greater risk in testifying against the brother of Honduras' current president. One, Magdaleno, whose notebooks were introduced at trial before SDNY Judge P. Kevin Castel has since been assassinated in a supposedly maximum security prison in Honduras.

  It is unclear if the SDNY US Attorney's Office or DOJ have done anything about this crime which is presumptively traceable to the president of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernandez.

    Most recently Inner City Press has been covering the cooperation of OneCoin found Ruja Ignatova's brother Konstantin Ignatov, part of a $4 billion fraud. Inner City Press' coverage has been credited by the BBC, The Times (UK), Daily Mail, and in the crypto-currency media.   

   But who will cover this sentencing for the murder of Bronxite Bubacarr Camara originally from The Gambia? And not to write about it, even with this self-imposed restrictions, would be to become complicit in this very human life cut short right in Manhattan in the Southern District of New York, and to leave its judges and prosecutors without any oversight. Watch this site.

November 11, 2019

Before 6ix9ine Sentencing in SDNY Taxes Due Dec 4 As Inner City Press Carjack Video Hit With YouTube Complaint

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 7 – Video of the car-jacking of Tekashi 6ix9ine shown as evidence in the trial of Aljermiah "Nuke" Mack and Anthony "Harv" Ellison which Inner City Press put online on YouTube (here with 83,000 views) has been subject of a complaint, YouTube informed Inner City Press on October 19.

  And in further digging Inner City Press has learned that at least two weeks before the December 18 re-scheduled sentencing of 6ix9ine / Daniel Hernandez, he is required by his plea agreement to file amendment tax returns and to pay or agree to pay. (This while others' plea deals, like OneCoin's Konstantin Ignatov, are withheld). Inner City Press will stay on these cases.

  Many legal questions are raised here. If a song is playing when a crime is committed, on video - as here in the car of 69's drive Jorge Rivera, can the video be played? Or censored, even partially or temporally - as for now seems to be happening with sentencing that have followed the guilty verdicts on Harv Ellison and Nuke Mack, leading up to 6ix9ine's in December?

The jury on October 3 returned a mixed verdict, see below. Daniel Hernandez / Tekashi 6ix9ine who testified for three days against them is now set to be sentenced on December 18 at 10 am, with the government's submission including under Section 5K1 due on December 11 or before.  Inner City Press tweeted the order here, and the underlying submission rules here.

  On October 17 co-defendant Jamel Jones was set to be sentenced, initially at 2:30 pm, then 9:45 am. Inner City Press inquired into having a live feed into the SDNY Press Room, as was the case for the sentencing of Roland Martin. But it was not done.

  At 9:45 am Jamel Jones' family members were in Judge Engelmayer's courtroom, but not Jamel Jones himself. Later he was brought in by Marshals and the proceeding began. It turned out he and his lawyer had not been given an opportunity to in writing address what the US Attorney's letter said was shown at trial, that Jim Jones spoke of "violating" 6ix9ine and Jamel Jones said "super violate."

   Inner City Press tweeted, as it did during the trial and the Roland Martin sentencing, here. Then Judge Engelmayer said, Mr Smallman tells me someone is tweeting. Who is it?

  Inner City Press immediately said, Me, adding that it had asked for a live feed into the Press Room.

  Judge Engelmayer said that if request for live feed are made they are granted. But it wasn't in this case. Inner City Press immediately shut down its phone, power off. An Assistant US Attorney came in and started using her phone, as has always been the case. She was told to turn it off.

   Now will less detailed information we report that Judge Engelmayer told Jamel Jones that he, unlike Roland Martin, had not renounced Nine Trey. That it was too late in life to use lack of a father figure as an excuse. (In fairness, Judge Englemayer later called out the father in the gallery.) Ultimately Judge Engelmayer imposed a full 135 month sentence on Jamel Jones, more than 11 years.

  While some might not like it compared, many white collar criminals in the SDNY are given light or time served sentences. This is one of the many reasons that detailed, real time reporting of these sentencing should be encouraged, not stopped and penalized. As Inner City Press left the courtroom, it was asked for its name and business card and was told that an "incident report" will be made. We'll have more on this.

#Periscope outside #SDNY in #6ix9ine case Judge Engelmayer guves 135 months Jamel Jones, press freedom issues @SDNYLIVE https://t.co/Oya4nViHqg

— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) October 17, 2019
 More here.

November 4, 2019

In SDNY All Reverse Sting Drug Cases Are Against Minorities For 10 Years Judge Rakoff Hears

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, Patreon
Honduras - The Source - The Root - etc

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 31 – Racism in federal law enforcement in the Southern District of New York was alleged and argued on October 31, with five defendants in shackles and Inner City Press the only media in the SDNY courtroom of Judge Jed S. Rakoff.

    Judge Rakoff asked lead attorney Christopher Flood whether the racial disparities he and his colleague are alleging are, in fact, statistically significant.

   Passed to Judge Rakoff via his deputy was the declaration of Profession Crystal S. Yang asserting "the racial composition of targeted individuals in DEA reverse-sting stash house cases brought in the SDNY" for the past ten years: "46 operations targeted 179 individuals of whom zero are White, two are Asian and 177 are Latino or Black." This is followed by regression analysis.

     Assistant US Attorney Domenic Gentile, alone at the prosecutor's table, doggedly returned to these particular defendants wearing face masks, and having been recruited through the lead defendant, Flood's client.

    Judge Rakoff said it was interesting, but how was it relevant? He committed to issuing an order on Flood et al's discovery motion by November 12, if only in bottom-line form, in advance of a March 2020 trial. The other defense attorneys on the discovery motion include Jennifer Luo, Michael Tremonte, John Diaz, Stephanie Carvlin, Xavier Donaldson, Dawn Cardi, and the omnipresent Calvin Scholar.

The case is USA v. Lopez et al., 19-cr-323 (Rakoff). Inner City Press will continue to report on this case, and on these issues.

October 28, 2019

After SDNY Courtroom Sealed To Press And AUSA Comey Silence Bronx Process of Elimination

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, Patreon
Honduras - The Source - The Root - etc

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 25 – There was a Federal criminal proceeding publicly listed on PACER at 2:30 pm on October 25 in the courtroom of Judge Denise L. Cote of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Inner City Press went to cover it - and was immediately told to leave the courtroom. Then the door was locked.

     When US Assistant US Attorneys Maurene Comey and Christopher Clore exited some 20 minutes later, Inner City Press asked them if they knew the basis for excluding the Press. Ms. Comey shook her head.

   Now some seven hours later Inner City Press can report: Maurene Comey has only four cases before Judge Cote. On only one of the four is Christopher Clore her co-chair AUSA: the 20 defendant Bronx MacBallas case named from the initial and lead defendant, US v. Xavier Holman, 18-cr-41 (Cote).

  But Holman was already sentenced to 120 months. Keenan McFarland and Sean Jones also got 120 months. Navone Dozier got 84 month. Jafari Jones and Francisco Torres also got 84 months; Austin Morrishow got 60 months, described in a sentencing submission as "one of the gang's 'shooters.'"  So who's left?

  Not listed as "closed" are Bo Williams, 20 of 20, Deonte Morrison 15, Nathaniel Fludd 7 and Toshnelle Foster 2, who while not sentenced has a sentencing date in November.

 Of these, only Bo Williams does not have an appearance by defense lawyer, although Inner City Press on October 25 observed who his lawyer is.

Virtually every filing in 18-cr-41-DLC-20 from May through September 2019 is listed as "Sealed Document."

As Inner City Press has explained to judges, executive and prosecutors, it has full respect for any legitimate sealing and / or safety concern. But to simply order the Press out of a Federal courtroom without given a reason does not comply with the letter or spirit not only of case law but of the principles behind it. More on Patreon, here.

 And the US Attorney's Office, so solicitous to some, has not even responded to Press requests they put online their exhibits in US v. Michael Jones, for example, a case where they seek 20 years against an emo rapper with bad luck with heroin, while allowing another in suburban Rockland County off on 27 months for the same conduct. Watch this site.

    Inner City Press had, as it exited as ordered without asking any questions in order not to be disruptive (or have its other access for reporting disrupted), asked Judge Cote's courtroom deputy what the basis of asking it to leave, without the on the record finding that are required by applicable Second Circuit Court of Appeals case law, was.

   The Deputy said, I'll ask the Judge if she wants to say. But the Deputy did not re-emerge, even after AUSA Comey left. To their credit, staff of the Office of the District Executive when informed arrived on the scene and, using their key, went into the abruptly locked courtroom.  

  Minutes later this explanation was given: the proceeding involved a cooperator. The AUSA had either not sought or had not obtained permission from "main Justice" in Washington to request the sealing of the courtroom.

    So the Judge, a former prosecutor as others have noted to Inner City Press - in fact, the first woman to serve as SDNY Criminal Division Chief, to her credit - had done it sua sponte. She called the lawyers to a sidebar moments after Inner City Press entered the courtroom, then emerged from the sidebar to order the courtroom sealed and the door locked.

   Inner City Press, in-house media in the SDNY working from front cubicle in the Press Room has suggested, to increase transparency, that such proceedings be sealed in advance, rather than on an ad hoc basis when the press walks into an open courtroom. That was an opporunity to be heard, in advance, would be possible. It is also advocating for more opportunities for real-time reporting from the SDNY, as recently on the #6ix9ine and Honduras trials and in 10 days on OneCoin / US v. Scott. The responses have largely been promising.

    The twist to the October 20 sealing of Judge Cote's courtroom was that it was partial:  it was not only the lawyers, court staff, and defendant and the two U.S. Marshals who remained inside. So it was a selective sealing. We hope to have more on this, reporting with all due respect, of course. No docket number. Watch this site.

October 21, 2019

Inner City Press Video of 6ix9ine Carjacking Hit With YouTube Complaint For Music on Radio Jorge

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 19 – Video of the car-jacking of Tekashi 6ix9ine shown as evidence in the trial of Aljermiah "Nuke" Mack and Anthony "Harv" Ellison which Inner City Press put online on YouTube (here with 83,000 views) has now been subject of a complaint, YouTube informed Inner City Press on October 19. Photo here.

  Many legal questions are raised here. If a song is playing when a crime is committed, on video - as here in the car of 69's drive Jorge Rivera, can the video be played? Or censored, even partially or temporally - as for now seems to be happening with sentencing that have followed the guilty verdicts on Harv Ellison and Nuke Mack, leading up to 6ix9ine's in December?

The jury on October 3 returned a mixed verdict, see below. Daniel Hernandez / Tekashi 6ix9ine who testified for three days against them is now set to be sentenced on December 18 at 10 am, with the government's submission including under Section 5K1 due on December 11 or before.  Inner City Press tweeted the order here, and the underlying submission rules here.

  On October 17 co-defendant Jamel Jones was set to be sentenced, initially at 2:30 pm, then 9:45 am. Inner City Press inquired into having a live feed into the SDNY Press Room, as was the case for the sentencing of Roland Martin. But it was not done.

  At 9:45 am Jamel Jones' family members were in Judge Engelmayer's courtroom, but not Jamel Jones himself. Later he was brought in by Marshals and the proceeding began. It turned out he and his lawyer had not been given an opportunity to in writing address what the US Attorney's letter said was shown at trial, that Jim Jones spoke of "violating" 6ix9ine and Jamel Jones said "super violate."

   Inner City Press tweeted, as it did during the trial and the Roland Martin sentencing, here. Then Judge Engelmayer said, Mr Smallman tells me someone is tweeting. Who is it?

  Inner City Press immediately said, Me, adding that it had asked for a live feed into the Press Room.

  Judge Engelmayer said that if request for live feed are made they are granted. But it wasn't in this case. Inner City Press immediately shut down its phone, power off. An Assistant US Attorney came in and started using her phone, as has always been the case. She was told to turn it off.

   Now will less detailed information we report that Judge Engelmayer told Jamel Jones that he, unlike Roland Martin, had not renounced Nine Trey. That it was too late in life to use lack of a father figure as an excuse. (In fairness, Judge Englemayer later called out the father in the gallery.) Ultimately Judge Engelmayer imposed a full 135 month sentence on Jamel Jones, more than 11 years.

  While some might not like it compared, many white collar criminals in the SDNY are given light or time served sentences. This is one of the many reasons that detailed, real time reporting of these sentencing should be encouraged, not stopped and penalized. As Inner City Press left the courtroom, it was asked for its name and business card and was told that an "incident report" will be made. We'll have more on this.

#Periscope outside #SDNY in #6ix9ine case Judge Engelmayer guves 135 months Jamel Jones, press freedom issues @SDNYLIVE https://t.co/Oya4nViHqg

— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) October 17, 2019