Inner City Press

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYTAzerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

Share |   

Follow on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube

More: InnerCityPro
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

In SDNY Emo Rapper Michael Jones Has Fenanyl Conviction Reversed Under Rule 29

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Vid, Patreon
The Source - XXL - The Root - Vibe, etc

SDNY COURTHOUSE,  Jan 25 – When SoundCloud emo rapper Michael Jones was brought in shackled to observe his motion for reconsideration denied by Judge John G. Koeltl of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on September 26, he had face tattoos as does Tekashi 6ix9ine.

  But there was no media except Inner City Press in the gallery. And the government was not offering any 5K1 cooperator's letter much less time served. Jones faces 20 years to life.

 On October 28 after days of deliberation, this one-liner in the docket: "JURY VERDICT as to Michael Jones (1) Guilty on Count 1s. Jury reaches verdict of guilty to Count 1. Sentence date 1/31/2020 at 10:00am. PSI ordered. Deft contd detained (jw)." And, "Order of Referral to Probation for Presentence Investigation and Report as to Michael Jones. (Signed by Judge John G. Koeltl on 10/28/19)(jw)." All Inner City Press noted at the time was, compare to the suburban case with the 27 month SDNY deal, here.

  Now in late January 2020, the conviction for fentanyl has been reversed by Judge Koeltl: "While the evidence is clear that the defendant distributed heroin to Haikova on December 5, 2017, there is no direct evidence that he also distributed fentanyl and furanylfentanyl to the victim on that date or that the heroin distributed by the defendant was mixed with fentanyl and furanylfentanyl. Rather, the Government attempts to rely on inferences from the toxicology findings and some testimony of its expert medical toxicologist, Dr. Stacey Hail, which is contrary to the findings of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York and the defense experts."

  So, "the defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal notwithstanding the jury verdict pursuant to Rule 29 on Count One is granted. In the alternative, the defendant's motion for a new trial on Count One pursuant to Rule 33 is granted."ORDER as to Michael Jones. In view of this Court's Order granting a Rule 29 judgment of acquittal on Count 1, the Probation Department is requested to prepare promptly a revised Pre-Sentence Report." Inner City Press will continue to follow this case.

  In summation and rebuttal on October 23, the US Attorney's office continued that pursuit. Michael Jones was described as "the guy with the heroin." For the record, Inner City Press now links to this SoundCloud audio. AUSA Wolf said since defense witness Doctor Wecht had called himself a technological dinosaur, "that alone is enough to disregard his opinion."

  This in a courthouse which writes up incident reports based on the dinosaur position that using a smart phone to sent an email is OK, but to send a tweet is not.

  As AUSA Daniel Wolf spoke, many other AUSA were in Judge Koeltl's courtroom, and left before defense lawyer Justin Bonus' summation. (Inner City Press stepped out between the two to send a single update.) 

 Bonus' summation was quickly cut into by a pre-reading of the jury charge. When he continued he questioned the behavior of first trial witness Felicia Medina and why, for example, there was no dog excrement in the decedent's apartment if she was supposed to have been dead since 1 pm on December 5, when Michael Jones was there.

  Thoughout this, as through the trial, Michael Jones sat at the defense table, a tear tatooed on his cheek. Bonus urged the jurors to watch the video of his post arrest statement particularly 20:33 to 24:40. (Inner City Press put it online, but the US Attorney's office never uploaded or provided its exhibits despite repeated requests.)

  AUSA Matthew Hellman, also in his Office's partial prosecution of UN corruption - even later on October 23, a UN-affiliated group's executive questioned in UN Plaza was presented and detained for crypto-currency scam but the proseuctors make no link to the UN, nor take any action on El Salvador UN Ambassador Carlos Garcia's new Coin scam, here.

  He said Michael Jones was invited to New York because he was "the guy with the heroin." He mentioned but did not explain the full role of Mackned. Perhaps justice is left up to the jury, which will received Judge Koeltl's charge on October 24 and begin deliberating. Inner City Press has asked the District Executive's Office for real time notice of jury notes and jury verdict, and the restored / expanded ability and right to report in real time. Watch this site.

 On the afternoon of October 22, Michael Jones' lawyer Justin Bonus questioned a long time forensic pathologist who testified in essence that there was no way to blame Diana Haikova's death on Michael Jones, and questioned even the prosecution's theory of the time of death.

  AUSA Matthew Hellman then methodically asked if the death scene photographs of Maureen O'Brien had been considered. It seemed not. As one in the gallery leaned forward to read the fine print in Government Exhibit 501, which has yet to be put online or provided despite Press requests, he was asked to sit down. And so it goes in the SDNY - we'll have more on this.

 On October 17 the government played for the jury video of an abusive interview of the defendant, Michael Jones, complete with bright orange hair. One of the interviewer told him to hurry up, "I'm hungy, I wanna get out of here." The other told Michael Jones to lay on the ground and imitate the decedent.

While the SDNY prosecutors have yet to put the exhibits online, Inner City Press has obtained the video and put it online here.

 In the gallery, when one of Michael Jones' at least dozen supporters groanded, the decedent's father turned and told him, "Please be quiet." It's only polite. But you can't silence the truth. Watch this site.

  On October 15 the US Attorney put on NYPD officer Chris Tilak Budhan about his "wellness check" at Haikova's studio apartment, and the medical examiner, her voice shaking, describing her role in something called the 360 Degree Outreach to families. Defense lawyer Justin Bonus objected but Judge Koeltl overruled. Then he shut down Bonus' voir dire about exhibits. In the gallery were family and friends of Jones, and the decedent's father, reading the Financial Times. We'll have more on this.

  On October 11 the US Attorney put on the stand Felicia Medina and John Dipaola, the "resident manager" at The Carolina at 60 West 23rd Street. There, in apartment (or "Suite") 545 Diana Haikova was found dead in bed on December 7, 2017. Several times Michael Jones' lawyer Justin Bonus rose up to object, invariably denied by Judge Koeltl. In fact, Judge Koeltl didn't even give Bonus an opportunity for re-cross before moving on. We said we'd have more on this, and now we do.

 On Saturday October 12 the US Attorney's Office filed a letter seeking to quash Michael Jones' subpoenas including on the very topics of the October 11 testimony, writing "Diana Haikova died inside her apartment located at 60 West 23rd Street, New York, NY, at a building known as The Caroline. The Government has learned that counsel for the defendant has served at least one subpoena on management at The Caroline and attempted to serve at least one other on an employee. The first subpoena (“Caroline Subpoena-1”), dated September 17, 2019, titled “Subpoena to Produce Documents, Information, or Objects in a Criminal Case,” is directed to “John DiPaola, The Caroline, 60 West 23rd Street, NY, NY 10010,” and requests “Building at 60 West 23rd: 1. Any and all video surveillance from 12/5/2017 at 11:30AM until 12/7/2017 at 1:40PM; 2. The building maintenance log and key request re apt 545 (see #1) 3. Visitor log for apartment 545, 12/5/2017 until 12/7/2017”. Caroline Subpoena-1 further indicates that the documents be delivered to “c/o Investigator Kevin Hinkson” and no return date or time is specified. There is no name, address, e-mail, or telephone number, or any information about the party or attorney representing the party issuing the subpoena listed. Attached to Caroline Subpoena-1 were copies of the same records (other than the surveillance video) that the subpoena requested, all of which the Government had provided to counsel for the defendant in discovery. Caroline Subpoena-1 is attached to this letter as Exhibit 5. In conversation with representatives from The Caroline, the Government has also learned that on or about October 11, 2019, the  [2 On or about October 3, 2019, out of an abundance of caution, the Government produced to Jones correspondence in its possession between the victim’s family and the Government, totaling 77 pages.] defendant attempted to serve another subpoena (“Caroline Subpoena-2”) on an employee at The Caroline, Carlos Borbon, who the Government intends to call as a witness at trial, but service was not effected, and the Government is not in possession of a copy of that subpoena. From communications with Mr. DiPaola, the Government is aware that The Caroline provided the requested records directly to Mr. Kevin Hinkson, who was present at The Caroline and served John DiPaola directly. The records provided were the same as those in the Government’s possession, which were previously produced to the defendant in discovery. Additionally, the Government was advised that while at The Caroline, Mr. Hinkson asked Mr. DiPaola if he was aware of certain “facts” in the case, including information regarding the deceased’s autopsy and post-mortem examination, sexual history, and the results of forensic tests that purportedly pointed to the defendant’s innocence. After Mr. DiPaola advised Mr. Hinkson that Mr. DiPaola was not privy to that information, Mr. Hinkson continued to discuss with Mr. DiPaola the case and evidence otherwise unknown to Mr. DiPaola. As indicated above, the Government is unaware of the scope of Caroline Subpoena-2, but notes that both Mr. DiPaola and Mr. Borbon were included on the Government’s witness list, and that prior to the attempted service of Caroline Subpoena-2, the Government confirmed in writing that it would be calling those two individuals as witnesses early in its case in chief. Before jury selection, the Government provided all documents and recordings in its possession pertaining to the deceased victim’s apartment, documentation regarding the victim’s apartment by employees of The Caroline, and notes of interviews by the Government with both Mr. DiPaola and Mr. Borbon." We'll have more on this.

  On the eve of trial Inner City Press exclusively reported: Michael Jones was a security guard and upcoming or wannabe emo rapper in Camden, New Jersey, on the margins of the higher profile 'Lil Peep scene.

  Lil Peep may he rest in peace died of an overdose, for which no one was every charged but one of his circle, Mackned (who happens to be the godchild of musician Kenny G) seems to be in the mix, as alleged in detail to Inner City Press by Michael Jones' parents.

  Significantly, after the death of Diane Haikova for which Michael Jones is now charged, Jones parents allege that Mackned was  arrested for using Haikova's credit card after her death. In full disclosure but with all due respect, his father acknowledges knowledge of how drug dealing and subsequent searches work.

  But Michael Jones was not a drug dealer. The proof they say is that even after the US Attorney's Office rather than charging Mackned in connection with Haikova's death turns him into an undercover, Witness-1 could not make Jones deal any serious quantity of drugs.

  He did lure him from Camden to Manhattan, cruelly with the false promise of a music recording deal, to give him a small amount of drugs. But still Michael Jones was not arrested. According to his parents despite fruitless wiretaps, the authorities only arrested Michael Jones down in Miami, and didn't even search where he was staying. Something is fishy here.

  A significant but covered up fact? Not only is Mackned the godson of Kenny G, according to Michael Jones' dogged parents - Diana Haikova is the child of a hedgefunder, Robert Arnott.

 And so under this thoery it appears that the US Attorney's office wanted to provive an indictment if not conviction to help the hedge fund / socialite family with their pain. But why Michael Jones? Inner City Press will have more on this as we cover as much of this trial as we can, amid a 6ix9ine related sentencing and amid the Honduras wholesale drugs trial promoted and this one not. Watch this site. More on Patreon here.

  The difference is not only in their music. Michael Jones has no one to testify against. So he has no leverage. Even Tekashi's driver Jorge Rivera is getting a 5K1 letter. Not Jones.

 On September 26 the motion to reconsider was denied by Judge Koeltl, who had just turned on the white noise to prevent Inner City Press from hearing about yet another cooperator, story on that soon. Inner City Press will have more on all these cases. For now more on Patreon here.

Back on August 5, Jones' lawyer Justin Bonus attacked the autopsy information presented to the grand jury, and inducements offered by the government to witnesses at the impending trial for the death of Diana Haikova just after the funeral of more prominent emo rapper Lil Peep.

  On September 4 the scene was quiet different. It was only Jones and Bonus, two prosecutors, and three supporters of Haikova who after the proceeding walked with the prosecutors toward the US Attorney's Office.
  Bonus was asking about the Grand Jury process that led to a superseding indictment of his client. Woah, Judge Koeltl said, never do that - meaning, it seemed, imply that he didn't take the Grand Jury's secret role in the criminal justice system seriously.

 Judge Koeltl had set the trial for October 9 but was informed by the prosecution that falls on Yom Kippur. He moved it to October 10, after his Deputy Mr. Fletcher confirmed with the SDNY Jury Office that a jury can be picked on a Thursday. Judge Koeltl said he will probably sit, then, that Friday. There is a defense expert witness only available on October 14.

  This prosecution contrasts with the 27 month plea deal struck by the same office with a Rockland County man who distributed heroin / fentanyl known to him to be deadly to Lauren McKenna. In that now closed case, attention shifts to the Washington Heights dealer who sold the "King Death" heroin. Here, Michael Jones faces years and years. Are the prosecutors more in touch with this victim's family than in the Rockland County case? Watch this site.

  Now the trial, set for September 9, is being postponed. Jones' lawyer Bonus wrote: " Dear Honorable Koetl: This office represents Michael Jones, who is the Defendant in the above-referenced action. I respectfully write the Court to advise it of a scheduling conflict with the medical examiner, Dr. Zhanna Georgievskaya, a material witness in this case. In the Government’s March 18, 2019 expert disclosure and July 10, 2019 response to Michael Jones’ pretrial motion, the Government indicated that it anticipated calling Dr. Zhanna Georgievskaya as a witness, as she is the medical examiner that conducted the autopsy. After speaking with Dr. Georgievskaya today, she indicated that she was on family leave and unavailable between September 9, 2019 and October 11, 2019. Dr. Georgievskaya is a critical witness for the defense, as she supports the defense’s theory that Diana Haikova died of acute intoxication. As such, I respectfully request that the Court adjourn the trial until the doctor is available or grant whatever remedy the Court deems appropriate." For reply, see Patreon here.

 Judge Koeltl, who sealed the presentment of a John Doe detainee with an Arabic interpreter, has not responded to opposion to such secrecy and is apparently away. In his stead the Part I judge granted Jones' motion and pushed the trial back a month: "MEMO ENDORSEMENT as to Michael Jones (1) on [43] FIRST LETTER MOTION addressed to Judge John G. Koeltl from Justin C Bonus dated 08/15/2019 re: Continuance based upon Scheduling Conflict. In response to the defendant's letter dated August 15, 2019 (Dkt. No. 43) and the Government's letter dated August 15, 2019 (Dkt. No. 45), the request for a continuance of the trial is granted. The trial will begin on October 9, 2019 at 9:00 AM. New dates for motions in limine, requests to charge, and voir dire submissions will be set at the pre-trial conference on September 4, 2019 at 3:00 PM. (Signed by Judge Jed S. Rakoff on 8/16/2019)."

Back on August 5 when Bonus said, He's never been arrested, a man in the gallery said loudly, "Never!" Later from the supporters section, this line: "Netflix should be here!" But they weren't. Just Inner City Press and perhaps one other journalist. Jones' genre was dubbed Goth Boi Clique; his online name is, or was, realnewjerzeydevil. Judge Koeltl shot down each and every motion.  The case is US v. Michael Jones, 18-cr-662 (JGK) and Inner City Press will continue to follow it, watch this site. More on Patreon here.


Your support means a lot. As little as $5 a month helps keep us going and grants you access to exclusive bonus material on our Patreon page. Click here to become a patron.

Feedback: Editorial [at]

Box 20047, Dag Hammarskjold Station NY NY 10017
SDNY: Press Room 20, 40 Foley Square, NY NY 10007

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

 Copyright 2006-2020 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] for