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FinCEN Leaker Edwards Wants Out of Prison Citing 111 COVID Cases in FPC Alderson

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video Patreon Order

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 15 – 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.

  On June 3, 2021, Edwards was sentenced at the top of the guidelines, which Judge Woods said understated the gravity of the offense - to six months, beginning in August. Thread here and below.

   On January 3, 2022, with Edwards having served four of the six months in Federal Prison Camp Alderson, her lawyer wrote to Judge Woods seeking a reduction of sentence to time served. Of Alderson's 677 inmates, 507 have been "fully vaccinated," but 111 have COVID. Edwards wants out, in a heavily redacted memo.

  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.

 After the sentencing, Edwards counsel asked to have two documents removed from the docket, after having gotten letters submitted by Edwards sealed. So Inner City Press has filed, here on DocumentCloud here, now in the docket and on CourtListener here and below.

 On Sunday, August 15, Edwards' CJA lawyer has replied, here, including that "INNER CITY PRESS argues that because Dr. Sours Edwards appeared to thank the Court during her sentencing hearing 'for considering but also acting on her submission,” those ex parte, pro se documents should now be considered judicial documents. Application at 1. In making this claim, INNER CITY PRESS does not specifically identify either by reference to the sentence- hearing transcript or otherwise what Dr. Sours Edwards purportedly said ('While not entirely clear, she appeared to thank the court....'). Id. However, the relevant issue is
not whether Dr. Edwards thanked the Court for permitting her to change counsel, but whether she disclosed the contents of the pro se submissions when addressing the Court. She did not."

  Inner City Press disagrees - when the party seeking to withhold its submissions as purported NOT judicial documents thanks the Court for considering them, the argument for sealing is going. It is strange that CJA counsel, with publicly paid access to the transcript, does not quote it. Inner City Press outside of the courthouse does not have such access, but aims to, later on August 16. Watch this site.

From Inner City Press' filing: "I write for a second time pursuant to your June 6, 2021 order and in supplemental support of the July 21, 2021 application for press and public access to submissions to this Court by defendant Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, that triggered a judicial conference.  Those submissions, which the US references in its filing of today's date, were also referred to by the defendant at sentencing. While not entirely clear, she appeared to thank the Court not only for considering but also acting on her submission. That would seem to make them judicial documents - and the decision to the contrary should be reconsidered in light of what was said at sentencing.  The US Attorney's Office which stood by as those submissions were sealed now refers to them as relevant background to its filed of MSPB documents it does not want sealed. Both sets of documents should be public: the MSPB filing already in the public docket, and the defendant's submission which remain, for now, sealed.  Tellingly, the defendant wants both sets of documents withheld from the press and public; the US wants what it made public to remain so, but is indifferent to the sealing of defendant's submissions it already saw. The Press wants both sets of documents made part of the record. See US v. Gerena, 869 F.2d 82 (2d Cir. 1989)  For consistency, and to provide transparency into what the defendant was thanking the Court for during her sentencing, all of the records should be made public and part of the docket."

On Friday July 30, Edwards through counsel in a heavily redacted letter asked to delay her August 2 surrender to imprisonment. The US has opposed - but also with heavy redactions. Not without sympathy but we must note: this whole whistleblower cases is ironically shielded in secrecy.

Now on August 2 Judge Woods to his credit has ordered: "MEMO ENDORSEMENT granting in part [106] LETTER MOTION addressed to Judge Gregory H. Woods from Stephanie Carvlin dated 7/30/2021 re: postpone surrender date. ENDORSEMENT: Application granted in part. The defendant's surrender date is adjourned to September 3, 2021. The defendant should not expect further extensions. The defendant is directed to submit any response to the application dated June 2, 2021, Dkt. No. 102, no later than August 15, 2021."

Docket 102 is Inner City Press' June 14, 2021 request to unseal. Watch this site.

 Back on August 4, 2020, 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.

  Here is Inner City Press' live thread of the June 3 in-person sentencing, here

The case is US v. Edwards, 19-cr-64 (Woods).

Watch this site.

sdny

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