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Coronavirus Has SDNY Check Brooklyn MDC Temperatures Over 100.4 F

By Matthew Russell Lee, Thread, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 6 – The Federal court in Manhattan has ordered temperature checks before prisoners are presented from the Brooklyn Federal jail, the Metropolitan Detention Center. See here.

  The order, 20-mc-137, is about the MDC, not the nearer-by MCC or Metropolitan Correctional Center (Inner City Press video of where, here). Searching the PACER system for a parallel MCC order, one finds 20-mc-136 is sealed, and 20-mc138 is "not found." So is it only Brooklyn?

  Meanwhile on the West Coast, the Western District of Washington has partially shut down, and excluded time under the Speedy Trial Act through March 31, tweeted here.

  On March 5 as reported by Inner City Press and picked up elsewhere, a prospective juror in Manhattan Federal court has been contacted by the Center for Disease Control about possible exposure to the Coronavirus COVID-19, and a an Iran sanctions trial has been forced to pause, and move. 

  In the case of US v. Nejad, Judge Alison Nathan decided to tell jurors to take a break and return to a different courtroom while hers is cleansed.

 The prospective juror due to a religious institution connection was contacted by the CDC. The District Executive emphasized that it precautionary. But the jurors were not initially told the reason, only to return to Courtroom 110 in an hour's time, after an "early lunch." Then Judge Nathan proposed telling them why; defense lawyer Reid Weingarten suggested it be done in the jury room, not in public. Developing. 

Iranian banker Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad began his trial on March 3, charged with money laundering and violating US sanctions including through a Venezuelan infrastructure project. He is represented by lawyer Reid Weingarten of Steptoe & Johnson and, on November 25 as reported by Inner City Press by Brian M. Heberlig before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Alison J. Nathan.

  After jury selection on March 2, the opening arguments took place on March 3, and Inner City Press live tweeted them, thread here. In sum, while the government said it will show that Ali Sadr intentionally evaded sanctions, Weingarten portrayed Ali Sadr as hating the Mullahs and having a "pure heart," only want to help his father.

  A witness speaking in Farsi was laboriously questioned by Assistant US Attorney Michael Krause about the Venezuela project. More on Patreon here.

   Back on November 25, Heberlig argued at length for the suppression and return of emails seized, saying that looking for emails about money laundering was too broad. He insisted that his clients project in Venezuela was pure business, and that the government should have have been looking into his trips to Iran.

  As a civil libertarian, the arguments were attractive. In a courthouse where less affluent defendants are processed through in much different ways, less so.

  The government has two weeks to go page by page through their May 2018 420 PDFs; the defense got the same two weeks to pick out their seven or so worst examples of overreach. Two senior AUSA who sat through most of the argument left before Heberlig's final barrage. For those keeping score, the government ceded most ground in this hearing. Meanwhile in the Magistrates Court on less fancy crimes they are requesting detention in nearly every case. Inner City Press will have more on this.

   At the earlier Curcio hearing while adding prior Steptoe clients Citibank, UBS and Commerzbank to Steptoe's script, Nathan found the Sadr knowingly waived all conflicts of interest.

  Then a surprise: Assistant US Attorney Michael K. Krouse acknowledged that yet to be turned over are e-mails from seven custodian other than Sadr, somehow lost in the cracks of the case. Judge Nathan gave Krouse a week to provide a status update, with full production to be completed in two weeks and a response by Steptoe a week after that. They will be seeking to exclude these e-mails.

  On the bracelet removal request, Judge Nathan said she saw no reason to do it. Weingarten replied that Pre-Trial favors it, and that he wants to meet with Sadr until midnight. The government's position will be known in a week and more from Steptoe if the government opposes either. It's good to have money, in essence. This is not how lower income defendants are often treated in the SDNY. The case is USA v. Nejad,  18-cr-00224 (Nathan). More on Patreon here



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