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FinCEN Leaker Edwards Sentencing Delayed Again to June 3 Her Letters Still Not Docketed

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video Patreon Order

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Feb 17 – 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 August 4, Inner City Press filed its second opposition to the attempt to make Edwards' submissions to SDNY Judge Woods disappear as supposedly not judicial documents.

 On October 20, Judge Woods in a 12-page order denied Inner City Press' request (full order on DocumentCould here) and quoted below.

 On October 29 Edwards' lawyer wrote in again -- now seeking to move the sentencing back from November 9 to mid January: "It is my position that even if the Court were to find that the CARES Act, the Constitution and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure authorize a remote sentence proceeding, Dr. Edwards has a right to be physically present in the Court for her sentencing. Dr. Edwards does want to be present in Court with her family for her sentencing.1 This poses an impediment to having Dr. Edwards’ sentence hearing take place on November 9, 2020, as now scheduled."

   Many sentencings, including in person, have occurred in the SDNY, including one briefing postponed due to South Carolina, before Judge Engelmayer. (The sentencing took place November 4 and Inner City Press covered it here, noted and quoted here and here).

 On November 5, Judge Woods granted the postponement: "ORDER as to Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards. A sentencing hearing is scheduled in this matter on January 19, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. in Courtroom 12C...  (Signed by Judge Gregory H. Woods on 11/5/20)(jw)."

Then on January 8, this: "Re: United States v. Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, 19-cr-00064 (GHW) Dear Judge Woods: After conferring with the government, I write in response to the Court’s order filed January 7, 2021, to suggest mutually agreeable dates for Dr. Edwards’ sentencing. The parties propose that sentencing occur on March 24, 25 or 26, 2021, or any day the week of March 29, 2021. Dr. Edwards wants to be sentenced in person, and it appears more likely that two months from now travel restrictions, including quarantine requirements, will be relaxed. Depending on the speed with which vaccinations become available to the general public, it is also possible that Dr. Edwards and I will have been vaccinated, which would permit us to meet in person to discuss her sentencing, which has not been feasible to date. Respectfully submitted,  Stephanie Carvlin."

And  on January 11, this: "MEMO ENDORSEMENT as to Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards (1) granting [94] LETTER MOTION addressed to Judge Gregory H. Woods from Stephanie Carvlin dated 1/8/2021 re: to set a new sentencing date. ENDORSEMENT: Application granted. The sentencing is adjourned to April 2, 2021."

And on February 17, this: "ORDER as to Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards: It is hereby ORDERED that the sentencing hearing currently scheduled for April 2, 2021 is adjourned to May 20, 2021."

And now on May 10, this: "ORDER as to Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards: It is hereby ORDERED that the sentencing hearing currently scheduled for May 20, 2021 is adjourned to June 3, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. in Courtroom 12C, Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, New York, New York 10007. (Sentencing set for 6/3/2021 at 12:00 PM in Courtroom 12C, 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007 before Judge Gregory H. Woods) (Signed by Judge Gregory H. Woods on 5/10/2021)." We'll have more on all this.

On October 26 the US filed its sentencing memo, asking for six months in jail and saying, among other things, that "Reporter-1" at BuzzFeed shared with Edwards a still unpublished news article. And the letters are still being withheld? We'll have more on this.

  Back on October 23, Edwards' new lawyer filed a sentencing memorandum that included quotes from BuzzFeed's emails, themes they "returned to more than once when he sought information from Dr. Edwards." She was told, "Wyden was livid." More than 2400 pages of WhatsApp communication are offered to the Court - but the letters are withheld. This makes no sense.

From Judge Wood's October 20 order, now in a different light: "Matthew Lee of Inner City Press requested access to the documents, arguing that “the public and the press have a presumptive First Amendment and common law right of Case 1:19-cr-00064-GHW Document 80 Filed 10/20/20 Page 7 of 12 8 access to criminal proceedings and records.”1  July 21, 2020 Letter, Dkt. No. 60, at 1. The letter respectfully disagreed with the Court’s determination that “documents that trigger a Federal criminal case conference are not judicial documents.” Id. at 2. The letter also argued that the public interest in the documents was not small. Id. On July 30, 2020, Dr. Sours Edwards filed her opposition to the request. July 30, 2020 Letter, Dkt. No. 65. Mr. Lee submitted replies on August 4, 2020 and August 5, 2020. August 4, 2020 and August 5, 2020 Emails, Dkt. Nos. 66 and 67... The Court acknowledges that some may be interested in seeing what a defendant in the position of Dr. Sours Edwards might choose to say to the Court in such straights. Especially because her counsel advised that whatever Dr. Sours Edwards wrote was something that should not be considered by the Court. The prospect of a cri de coeur written by a criminal defendant without the benefit of counsel may represent an enticing opportunity for an unfiltered look inside of the defendant’s mind. But evaluating the fairness and integrity of the Court’s proceedings and decisions does not require disclosure of the content of those submissions. Nor, in the Court’s view, considering all of the circumstances, would it be a fair result for the defendant. Because Dr. Sours Edwards’ pro se, ex parte submissions are not judicial documents, the application to unseal them is DENIED. SO ORDERED. Dated: October 20, 2020 GREGORY H. WOODS United States District Judge." We'll have more on this.

 In this context it may be useful to consider a document signed "May Edwards" which says she has and has submitted information on questions including "Yemen (2015)," Libya, Iran, China, Maria Butina and the Clinton Foundation, photo 1 here, 2 here.

And now, with more and more coming out in the FinCEN Files, the release of these documents is more important than ever. Still, on October 15 Judge Woods gave more time for even the sentencing submission to be not public, pending further redaction: "Re: United States v. Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards 19-cr-00064 (GHW) Dear Judge Woods: I write to ask that the Court extend my time for filing a public version of my sentencing submission until October 23, 2020. The reason for this request is that some of the material that is cited in the submission and the accompanying exhibits is covered by the Protective Order and contains material that is “restricted or confidential” under the order or is otherwise sensitive. The parties need additional time to determine what material may be filed by ECF and what material must be filed under seal or in a redacted form. This requires the government to confer with other federal agencies. The parties are working to come to an agreement on this issue and anticipate being able to do so by October 23.  Since the government and the Court already have the full version of the sentencing submission and exhibits, granting this request need not delay sentencing. Respectfully submitted. cc: AUSA Daniel Richenthal AUSA Kimberly Ravener

Application granted. The deadline for Defendant to file a public version of her sentencing submission is extended to October 23, 2020."

On October 1 it was announced, "MEMO ENDORSEMENT as to Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards (1) granting [68] LETTER MOTION addressed to Judge Gregory H. Woods from Stephanie Carvlin dated 9/29/2020 re: modify schedule for sentencing submissions. ENDORSEMENT: Application granted. Sentencing in this matter is adjourned to November 9, 2020."

 Inner City Press entirely opposes the disappearance of these judicial documents, submitted to SDNY Judge Gregory Woods. And so on August 5, it submitted this: "I write for a second time pursuant to your July 22, 2020 order and in further support of the July 21 application for press and public access to submissions to this Court by defendant Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, that triggered a judicial conference. They are judicial documents, contrary to the July 30 opposition submitted by Edwards' counsel.   On August 4 Inner City and I emailed to your Chambers our reply. Twenty four hours later, it is not docketed. So, first, this is a formal request that our responses to Edwards' counsel's submission be docketed as hers was, as Docket No. 65.   Second, in further opposition to the withdrawal / disappearance of what Ms. Edwards submitted to this Court triggering the conference(s), since for now we cannot know of what it consisted, consider that the following is already in the public record, citing Yemen, China, Clinton, Iran: here and here

 Furthermore, even what is characterized as attorney - client is of public interest, including because after having know to be well compensated counsel from Brafman & Associates, now Ms. Edwards has taxpayer funded CJA counsel. Was she paying Brafman & Associates? Or was someone else paying?   We had hoped for docketing and ruling on the judicial documents issue without getting into the specifics of press interest, which as in FOIA litigation should not be inquired into by a court or government agency." Watch this site.

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