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SDNY Judge Failla Dismisses Indictment of Balde With 24 Hours Stay As US Attorney Silent

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 21 – Souleymane Balde from the MCC prison was on a video proceeding covered by Inner City Press on May 11 with U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York SDNY Judge Katharine Polk Failla.

It is something of a high profile legal battle, having come back from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

   But there is also real life: Balde coughed and Judge Failla asked if he has been tested, and if the question was OK with his defense counsel Matthew Larsen.  

   Larsen OK-ed the question then noted that the  MCC is not testing in a meaningful way. He moved on to say after US v. Rehaif, the Court may not have jurisdiction. In the alternative, that Balde's plea was ineffective.

 And on May 21, with Inner City Press again present, Judge Failla ruled. She cited the Firth and Sixth Amendments. We'll await the transcript.  She dismissed the indictment against Balde without prejudice, and stayed her order until "the earlier of the Government filing a new complaint in this action or May 22, 2020 at 12:00 pm."

 Inner City Press immediately in writing asked the Press Office of the US Attorney's Office to appraise it of any new Complaint, or appeal to the Second Circuit. As of 8 pm, nothing was heard back.

     On May 11 the AUSA, by phone only and not video, said SDNY US Attorney Berman is considering new substantive charges against Balde, but wanted to only go in once and not twice to the grand jury.  

   Assistant US Attorney Slavik told Judge Failla that while right now there is a lack of quorum for a grand jury, the US Attorney's Office expects a new or resumed grand jury quorum by "the first half of June." Call it breaking news, live tweeted by Inner City Press here. 

  Judge Failla after these oral arguments said she will reserve judgment on the issues raised, and rule soon. The case is US v. Balde, 16-cr-130 (Failla).


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