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In We Build The Wall Case Pleas by Kolfage and Badolato So Sentencing Sept 6 in SDNY

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, April 21 – The Southern District of New York courthouse, which Inner City Press has covered nearly alone this summer amid the COVID-19 pandemic, was jumping on August 20. Video here.  In the afternoon, Steve Bannon would appear in person before a judge. After pleading not guilty, he told the press as he left the courthouse, "This entire fiasco is to stop people who want to build the wall."

This came after more than two hours of chanting by three then six people with flags, pro-Bannon: "CCP violence, stop the killing." Inner City Press spoke with them, video here.

And see coverage of Guo case here, podcast here

 On August 31, 2020 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Analisa Torres held a proceeding, and Inner City Press live tweeted it, below.

On April 21, 2022 Brian Kolfage and Andrew Badolato appeared before Judge Torres in order to plead guilty. Inner City Press live tweeted it here:

Judge Analisa Torres: You wish to plead guilty? Kolfage: Yes. Badolato: Yes. Judge Analisa Torres: I must then ask you some questions. How far did you go in school?

Kolfage: Bachelors in architecture in Arizona. 

Badolato: I had a drink last night with dinner, about 7 pm. I have a couple of heart stints, I had a heart attack six or seven years ago. Judge Torres: Sorry to hear that. Is you mind clear? Badolato: Yes, ma'am.

AUSA: They are charged with wire fraud... Judge Torres: Did you willingly sign the plea agreement?

Kolfage: Yes.  Judge Torres: How do you plead? Guilty. Kolfage: In 2018 I created We the People Build the Wall. I meant to give the funds to the government.

Kolfage: It became clear we could not earmark the money only for the wall. So we created a non-profit. I continued to raise funds. I said I would not be compensated. We did construct in New Mexico. But I received money, including from within the SDNY

 Analisa Torres: You told the public you would build the wall, and not take money, right? Kolfage: Right. Analisa Torres: But you kept the money, right? Kolfage: Yes.

AUSA Roos: We have bank records, social media posts, iCloud account returns...

AUSA Roos: Mr Kolfage was quoted, "They Michael Flynn-ed me." Can you ask him if he is pleading voluntarily? Judge Torres: Is this voluntary? Kolfage: Yes.

Badolato: I know that we were paying Mr. Kolfage. I am very sorry and ask the court for mercy.  Judge Torres: You got money too, right? Badolato: I was paid by We Build the Wall.

Judge Torres: I accept the guilty pleas and set sentencing for September 6, 1 pm in NYC.

Back on December 27-28 in the case, We Built The Wall and Kris Kobach appealed: "Notice is hereby given that We Build the Wall, Inc., and Kris Kobach, nonparty movants in the above-captioned case, hereby appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from an Order denying their Motion to Modify a Post-Indictment Restraining Order, entered in this action on December 14, 2020."

On May 5, 2021 Judge Torres denied the request without prejudice: "ORDER - Defendant Brian Kolfage moves for an order modifying the post-indictment restraining order issued on August 24, 2020, which prohibits the transfer of certain funds involved in his charged offenses (the "Restraining Order"), ECF No. 64. Alternatively, he requests a hearing to challenge the Courts finding that there was probable cause for the issuance of the Restraining Order, ECF No. 77. For the reasons stated below, Kolfage's motions are DENIED without prejudice. By May 19, 2021, Kolfage may submit evidence demonstrating that he meets the threshold for a Monsanto hearing, along with a motion to seal the affidavit from the public if desired.... By May 19, 2021, Kolfage may submit evidence demonstrating that he meets the threshold for a Monsanto hearing, along with a motion to seal the affidavit from the public if desired."

On May 6, "LETTER by USA as to Brian Kolfage addressed to Judge Analisa Torres from Assistant United States Attorney Robert B. Sobelman dated May 6, 2021 re: United States v. Brian G. Kolfage, 21 Cr. 29 (MCR) (N.D. Fla.) Document filed by USA. (Sobelman, Robert)." The charges are "tax related."

On July 21, 2021, Judge Torres held a proceeding leading up to a trial scheduled for November 15. Inner City Press live tweeted it here:

Assistant US Attorney reports on discovery and says, "Let's set a motion schedule." Judge Torres: Mr Steinberg (represents Kolfage), do you plan motions?

Steinberg: We ask for 60 days after the last drop of discovery. Judge Torres: That's an awfully long period of time.

 AUSA Roos: The government's view is that the remaining materials should not delay a motion schedule. The defendants already have the search warrants, and can make suppression motions; they have the indictment and can make motions to dismiss.

 AUSA Roos: The proposal by counsel for Mr. Kolfaaage would delay the trial. Steinberg: How about 45 days from today for motions?

 Judge Torres. No. That's also just too long -- Steinberg: We are doing back to back trials because so many cases have been continued

 Steinberg: We're having trials every day, I'm on trial 4 weeks in a row, 2 trials a week.  Judge Torres: When do you start?

Steinberg: I have two next week. Judge Torres: When do you expect to be finished?

Steinberg: The state hasn't had trials in a year.

 Steinberg: Next week I have an NFL player who hasn't been able to play for a year, because of no trial.

 Judge Torres: Aug 30 for motions... Motions in limine and voir dire by Oct 18... We have a Nov 15 trial date but I am not in control, it's now 100% certain.  Judge Torres: We are adjourned

   On February 9, 2022, with still no trial, this: "ORDER as to Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, Timothy Shea. The current COVID-19 trial protocols in place in the Southern District of New York do not permit the Court to hold a three-defendant criminal trial. The Court, therefore, intends to hold two separate trials in this matter, and shall utilize the centralized calendaring system for jury trials to request two trial dates for the second quarter of 2022. Accordingly, by February 14, 2022, at 12:00 p.m., the parties shall submit a joint letter proposing whom should be tried together and whom should be tried alone."

But the COVID situation is lift in SDNY. On March 8, 2022: "ORDER as to Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, Timothy Shea: On December 7, 2021, the parties provided their availability for trial in the second calendar quarter of 2022. The Court requested a jury trial based on the parties' availability. The Clerk's Office has notified the Court that this case has been scheduled as the primary back up case for May 16, 2022. The case will proceed if the primary case does not go forward. Moreover, because there is a strong possibility that multiple juries will be selected on any given date, this trial will likely go forward even if the primary case goes forward. The case must therefore be trial ready on May 16, 2022. As soon as the Court confirms whether the matter will proceed on May 16, 2022, it will inform the parties." Watch this site.

The overall case is US v. Kolfage et al., 20-cr-412 (Torres).


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