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In Sidney Scales Trial in SDNY Google Earth On Cell Sites Then Both Sides Rest

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 3 – Defendant Sidney Scales is facing trial this month, and now gets data on the jury venire.  His former co-defendant Ernest Horge back on February 27, 2020 said in open court that it is unfair he is in the same case as Scales, charged with capital murder.

On November 11, 2020, Veterans Day, the US Attorney's Office announced a superseding indictment that formally charges Scales with murder, and keeps Horge linked to him: "In the Superseding Indictment, SCALES is charged with causing another person to shoot at rival drug dealers on June 9, 2017, in the vicinity of 1135 East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx, New York, causing the death of Joshua Lopez.  SCALES and HORGE are also charged in the Superseding Indictment with engaging in multiple specific drug sales between November 2018 and February 2019, in addition to the narcotics conspiracy charged in the initial indictment." The case was reassigned to Judge Jed S. Rakoff, the docket said.

 Now in July Judge Rakoff has ordered: "ORDER as to Sydney Scales: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) permit daily visits with Mr. Scales's counsel and that such access should begin immediately and continue through the trial in this matter; scheduled to begin July 20, 2021, IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) and the MCC expeditiously transfer Mr. Scales's personal possessions from the MDC to the MCC, including, but not limited to, the discovery mailed to Mr. Scales from the United States. (Signed by Judge Jed S. Rakoff on 7/14/2021)."

 On July 20, Judge Rakoff held a proceeding and ruled on a series of motions in limine. He also endorsed the defense's request that John Doe who had proffered with the government but now cites the Fifth Amendment be deemed unavailable for trial.

 Judge Rakoff told the lawyers to appeal on July 22 at 9 am in Courtroom 24B, with the jury to arrive at 9:45 for opening statements.

On July 22, the defense told the jury that while Scales did sell some crack that they will see, he did not order or commit a murder. Then the evidence began, with a crime scene unit police officer, describing beach chairs and blood on East Tremont Avenue.

On July 23, the prosecution put on the stand a transit police officer who covered the 2 and 5 line, from Intervale Avenue to 180th Street. He described hearing gun shots and coming down, and a chase down 178th Street. A cooperator described going to Hunts Point with a gun to collect money.

  Another cooperator, a woman, acknowledged that in connection with her testimony, the US Attorney's Office paid for her and her child's travel. Judge Rakoff inquired into whether the victim's text messages are hearsay; he asked counsel to answer his questions and not volunteer information.

On July 26, a cooperator testified at length, about losing confidences in Sid, after starting dealing drugs at the age of 10, joining Nine Trey and going to GEO (trajectory of Tekashi #6ix9ine who is already out), then to Putnam. In the beween, Hoffman between 189 and Fordham Road in The Bronx. There were multiple objections, most of them overruled by Judge Rakoff.

On July 27, the defense cross-examined this witness, at length. He was asked about a written history of the gang, and the name of his Instagram account, now and then. Judge Rakoff, during a break, told defense counsel this was straining relevance. But as always he closely considered the proffered exhibits. But might the exhibits, at least those admitted into evidence, be placed on a publicly available platform or be otherwise made available, as ordered in the Weigand trial?

On July 28, the witness (Santiago) was still being cross examined, culminating in the defense getting admitted, over the government's objection, a recorded jail call of him saying he'd need a gun when he got out. There followed some re-direct, showing that Santiago was nonetheless sometimes broke, and helped out by a former girlfriend's mother who would bring groceries to Hoffman Avenue in The Bronx when she got off work at JFK.

On July 29, the prosecution apologized for errors in the binders and was told that coming up with a new chart of phone calls and introducing it without enough notice to the defense is not the way to proceed. There's also this: ORDER as to Sydney Scales: The C.J.A. attorney assigned to receive cases on this day, Bennett Epstein, is hereby ordered to assume representation of the witness Antanaron Demery in the above captioned matter. (Signed by Judge Jed S. Rakoff). Watch this site.

On Friday July 30 the defense on cross-examination asked the witness about lapses in memory, after all this time, and about how he was recruited as a cooperator. Then the defense asked for the weekend to make a written submission.

On Monday August 2, yet another cooperator was cross examined about how much time he spent with Sidney Scales, and how much with "Ern." The AUSA objected. The day ended with the charging conference, broken up by two unrelated bond hearings by Judge Rakoff, which Inner City Press also covered, here.

  On the morning of August 3, the US questioned a witness who used Google Earth and StreetView to describe the cell phone towers of West Farms, then captured calling patterns. Both sides rested - it's getting to closing time. Watch this site.

The case is US v. Scales, 19-cr-96 (Rakoff). 


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