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Manafort SAR Leaker Edwards Withdrawal of Filings Opposed by Inner City Press Now July 30

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, thread, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 22 – The U.S. Treasury employee accused in October 2018 of leaking Suspicious Activity Reports about Paul Manafort and others, Natalie Edwards, pleaded guilty to one count on January 13, 2020 before U.S. District Court Southern District of New York Judge Gregory H. Woods.

  Edwards got a plea agreement for between zero and six months and a $9500 fine which her lawyer afterward told Inner City Press was a standard fine. Video here; live tweeted thread of plea proceeding here. More on Patreon here.

 On July 21 Judge Woods held a 5 pm proceeding at which he was asked to treat Edwards' filings as if they had never been filed, and withhold them from the Press and public.

Inner City Press immediately filed opposition, to Judge Woods chambers, copying the new defense lawyer Stephanie M. Carvlin and AUSA Daniel Richenthal, below.

 Now on July 22, after docketing Inner City Press' letter or application, Judge Woods to his credit has provided time to Edwards or her lawyer to respond: "ORDER as to Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards. On July 21, 2020, a representative of Inner City Press requested that the Court file on the public docket of this case copies of materials that the defendant had previously submitted to the Court ex parte. See Dkt. No. 60. Those documents were discussed during a conference on July 21, 2020. During that conference, the Court granted the defendants request that the Court not consider the materials submitted by the defendant to the Court ex parte in connection with her case. The Court directs that counsel for the defendant respond to the application no later than July 30, 2020. To the extent that the United States wishes to be heard with respect to the application it is directed to respond by the same date. Any reply in support of the application must be filed no later than August 6, 2020 (Defendant Replies due by 7/30/2020.). (Signed by Judge Gregory H. Woods on 7/22/20)(jw)." Watch this site.

From Inner City Press' letter: "Press Access to correspondence submitted by defendant in US v. Edwards, 19-cr-64 (GHW)  Dear Judge Woods:     This concerns, in the above-captioned criminal case, the filings by defendant alluded to on the July 21, 2020 conference call, which I covered throughout, for Inner City Press. This is a request for access to all filings, if necessary minus the specific portions found to be classified, including but not limited to all submissions that precipitated the July 21 and prior conference.      As the Court is aware, the public and the press have a presumptive First Amendment and common law right of access to criminal proceedings and records. See Press Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court of California, 464 U.S. 501, 508 (1984). The presumption of openness can only be overcome if “specific, on the record findings are made demonstrating that closure is essential to preserve higher values and is narrowly tailored to serve that interest.”... Inner City Press has covered this case from this through this. Respectfully, we disagree that the public interest in this case and these documents is 'small,' and that documents that trigger a Federal criminal case conference are not judicial documents. The better practice is to release these documents, if necessary with redactions of classified information." Watch this site.

  On the morning of July 9 Judge Woods held a proceeding, and Inner City Press live tweeted it, below.

 Now on July 16 a lawyer representing Edwards has asked to withdraw her three pro-se submissions and to seek to formalize new counsel, perhaps on July 21. Full letter on Patreon, here. Inner City Press will continue to report on this case.

From July 9: This proceeding is for Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards  to get a publicly funded CJA lawyer - and as on some redaction issues.

 Edwards swears under oath to the accuracy of financial info. And a schedule of letters on redactions is set.
Defense lawyer asks: Is it your Honor's intention to have the Government and independent counsel submit the letter? Or me and Mr. Kaplan?

Judge Woods: I won't prescribe. I expect Dr Sours Edwards will explore the issue and decide who should write for her.

 Background: Edwards wrote to Judge Woods on June 23; he set out a schedule to deal with the issues. Edwards wrote that "I am currently working with CISO Daniel Hartenstine of DOJ for the proper review and redaction of sensitive or classified nature documents." Letter and email on Patreon here.

After 5 pm on July 9, the US Attorney's Office filed a letter, including that "United States v. Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, 19 Cr. 64 (GHW) Dear Judge Woods: The Government respectfully writes in the above-captioned matter to advise the Court of a recent filing made by the defendant in an administrative proceeding in which, among other things, she materially misrepresents events in this matter and this Court’s recent actions. As described in part in the Presentence Investigation Report (at ¶ 26), despite being suspended following her arrest, and then resigning following her guilty plea, the defendant is claiming in an administrative proceeding, in which she is pro se, that she was suspended and then terminated or forced to resign by FinCEN in retaliation for purported whistleblowing. Following this morning’s conference, the Government learned that, earlier this week, on Monday, July 6, the defendant filed the enclosed document, dated July 7, in that proceeding. (Exhibit A.) Among other things, the defendant asserts, under penalty of perjury: The Federal Judge in the criminal trial held a conference on June 29, 2020 and assigned an independent counsel to the defendant/appellant and requested the independent counsel review the case. The Federal Judge found merit and significant concerns in the “letter and substantial documentation” the whistleblower defendant/appellant provided to the court concerning violation of fifth amendment, conflict of interests pertaining to the prosecution/counsel, coercion of the plea deal, criminal referral submitted against agency IG, the letter defendant sent to Attorney General Sessions and Special Counsel Mueller, etc., all elements withheld from the Federal court by both the prosecution and defense counsel. (Ex. A at 3-4 (PDF pages 6-7).) The Silvio J. Mollo Building One Saint Andrew’s Plaza New York, New York 10007 U.S. Department of Justice United States Attorney Southern District of New York Case 1:19-cr-00064-GHW Document 55 Filed 07/09/20 Page 1 of 2 Honorable Gregory H. Woods United States District Judge July 9, 2020 Page 2 As the Court is aware, these statements are false. The Court did not find “merit” in the defendant’s recent submissions to this Court, much less determine that she had a basis in fact for allegations “concerning violation of [the] [F]ifth [A]mendment” or “coercion” or any other purported violation or purported misconduct in this case, even assuming arguendo that the defendant’s submissions may be read to contain such allegations. Nor did the Court “assign[] an independent counsel” to “review the case.” Rather, the Court appointed Criminal Justice Act counsel (which did not occur on June 29, as the defendant states, but was discussed then and occurred earlier today) because the defendant had sent directly to the Court three documents, certain of which contained communications that appeared otherwise to be protected by the attorney-client privilege or corresponding work product protection, and her current retained counsel, without objection from the Government, accordingly asked the Court to appoint counsel for the defendant, independent from current retained counsel, “for the limited purpose of conferring with [her] about her submission and any issues she has regarding her relationship with current counsel.” (Dkt. No. 51.) The Court did not opine on these communications, or the defendant’s submission more generally, or any allegations concerning her criminal conduct or this case. In short, contrary to the defendant’s statements in the administrative proceeding, the Court did not “f[in]d merit” in any allegations, and the Court appointed counsel to confer with the defendant for a limited purpose in light of her transmission of potentially privileged material to the Court. The defendant’s misrepresentations reflect a troubling pattern of conduct, which the Government expects to address more fully in connection with sentencing." Letter on Patreon here. We'll have more on this.

 On May 22, Edwards sentencing which had been set for July 8 was extended six weeks by Judge Woods: "Application granted. The deadline for disclosing the final pre-sentence report is extended to June 22, 2020. Sentencing is adjourned to August 21, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Defendant's sentencing submissions are due no later than July 31, 2020; the Government's sentencing submissions are due no later than August 7, 2020. As a result of this adjournment, the Court anticipates that the sentencing will take place in person in Courtroom 12C." Inner City Press will be there.

 But it seems that Assistant US Attorney Maurene Comey will not. Put into the docket on June 8 was this: "MEMO ENDORSEMENT as to Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards on re: [45] Letter filed by USA. re: The Government respectfully requests that the Court order the Clerk to terminate the appearance of undersigned counsel in this matter. AUSAs Daniel C. Richenthal and Kimberly J. Ravener will remain counsel of record in the case... ENDORSEMENT... Application granted. The Clerk of Court is directed to terminate the appearance of Ms. Comey in this case. (Signed by Judge Gregory H. Woods on 6/5/20)(jw)."

  Back in January the allocution almost broke down when Judge Woods asked Edwards if she knew what she did was wrong. She mentioned that word whistleblower then got cut off.

  After Assistant US Attorney Maurene Comey and her colleagues conferred with Agnifilo and
Jacob Kaplan, also with Brafman & Associates, the plea got back on track. Edwards said she knew the disclosure to BuzzFeed was not authorized.

  Outside the SDNY courthouse afterward, Inner City Press and others puts questions to Agnifilo. Inner City Press asked if Edwards had sought whistleblower status. Agnifilo said genially that he declined to answer. He added that he will be seeking a non incarceratory sentence. The sentencing is set for June 9 at 4 pm. Watch this site. More on Patreon here.

Back on January 30, 2019 on Worth Street, Inner City Press asked her Kaplan about a statement made during the initial proceeding, that another person's device was also search. Kaplan acknowledged that had been said, adding that he didn't know who it was. Video here, Vine here.  

Here's from what was announced in the Complaint in October 2018: "Beginning in approximately October 2017, and lasting until the present, EDWARDS unlawfully disclosed numerous SARs to a reporter (“Reporter-1”), the substance of which were published over the course of approximately 12 articles by a news organization for which Reporter-1 wrote (“News Organization-1”). The illegally disclosed SARs pertained to, among other things, Paul Manafort, Richard Gates, the Russian Embassy, Mariia Butina, and Prevezon Alexander. EDWARDS had access to each of the pertinent SARs and saved them – along with thousands of other files containing sensitive government information – to a flash drive provided to her by FinCEN. She transmitted the SARs to Reporter-1 by means that included taking photographs of them and texting the photographs to Reporter-1 over an encrypted application. In addition to disseminating SARs to Reporter-1, EDWARDS sent Reporter-1 internal FinCEN emails appearing to relate to SARs or other information protected by the BSA, and FinCEN nonpublic memoranda, including Investigative Memos and Intelligence Assessments published by the FinCEN Intelligence Division, which contained confidential personal, business, and/or security threat assessments. At the time of EDWARDS’s arrest, she was in possession of a flash drive appearing to be the flash drive on which she saved the unlawfully disclosed SARs, and a cellphone containing numerous communications over an encrypted application in which she transmitted SARs and other sensitive government information to Reporter-1." We'll have more on this.


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