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Amid SDNY Errors in Ahuja and Shor Case Like In Nejad Judge Failla Previews Hearing

By Matthew Russell Lee, Periscope, Photos

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 24– In the US prosecution of Premium Point Investments hedge funders Anilesh Ahuja and Jeremy Shor, the government doggedly tried to show the jury the so-called sector spread and mid-bid mis-marking scams by which the two defendants allegedly overvalued their portfolios.

  Apparently it worked. But now? Now post-trial filings in the case allege that cooperating witness Majidi had his allocution written, or re-written, by the prosecutors - and handed to him ten minutes before he read it out loud, on October 31, 2018. A ghoulish Halloween on which we'll have more.

 Now on July 24, Judge Failla held a proceeding. Inner City Press live tweeted it:

Before Judge Failla, a push to get the type of US Attorney's Office internal chats that "recently came up in a case before Judge Nathan" - that is, US v. Nejad, here..

Judge Failla began this proceeding by disclosing having run into lawyers in the case, since the trial, at a cocktail party by Preet Bharara  - and wants full answers

Judge Failla said the US Attorney's Office's approach to this inquiry has been "interative." She asks them to give a complete answer: what happened in this case? Urges that none of the cooperators be sentenced until this inquiry is finished. US seems to agree.

 Defense lawyer: Your Honor should order the government to go back and review the whole file, for all Brady & Giglio - their representations so far, we can't rely on. "There was a deliberate effort to not put things in emails in order to not have to disclose them"

Defense lawyer: It is clear that each of the cooperators allocutions were shaped by the US Attorney - with no written record of it. An edited document was created, then instead of e-mailing there is a phone call to discuss the changes. So what else is there?

 AUSA: It's unfair to say we don't know what Brady and Giglio are. [That's not what's being said.]

 Judge Failla: I want to see whatever comes to me in this matter. Then I'll decide on more.

Back on July 16, the US Attorney's Office informed Judge Failla that they will collect and release all records related to a November 26, 2019 FOIA request, including "any emails, text messages, internal chats and voicemails...The Government plans to use the search term 'FOIA' to conduct this search." We'll have more on this.

Back on June 21, the day after a legal reality show surrounding SDNY US Attorney Geoffrey Berman and the office, Inner City Press reported that only days before that Office, after the Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad "errors," admitted others in Ahuja and Shor: "Re: United States v. Anilesh Ahuja, et al. S1 18 Cr. 328 (KPF) Dear Judge Failla: The Government respectfully writes to advise the Court and the parties that certain representations it made to the Court during trial about the Government’s communications with counsel for cooperating witness Amin Majidi prior to Majidi’s guilty plea were wrong. While the Government’s communications with Majidi’s counsel were entirely proper, its recounting of those communications to the Court was partly inaccurate. 1 During trial, the Government produced to defense counsel a draft allocution that Majidi’s counsel had sent to the Government in advance of Majidi’s plea proceeding (the “Draft Allocution”). The Draft Allocution differed from the allocution that Majidi gave (the “Final Allocution”). The Court made clear that draft allocutions received from counsel for cooperating witnesses should have been produced to the defense earlier, pursuant to United States v. Triumph Capital Group, Inc., 544 F.3d 149 (2d Cir. 2008), and directed the Government to review its attorney communications in this case for any additional materials that should be produced to the defense pursuant to Triumph Capital. (Tr. 479)."

 On June 24, the SDNY US Attorney's Office now under Audrey Strauss wrote that "the Government agrees to undertake a search of internal emails (including calendar invites), as well as internal paper and electronic files, for certain materials that would be responsive to this request. Specifically, the prosecutors on the trial team are searching all of their internal emails beginning two days prior to the plea proceedings for Majidi and cooperating witnesses Frank Dinucci and Ashish Dole, up to and including the date of those plea proceedings,1 for any materials responsive to the request in the Shor Letter (i.e. “internal or external communications regarding the substance or content of any draft, proposed, or actual plea allocution relating to the scheme alleged in this case; any meetings regarding cooperator allocutions in this case; and all versions of any draft, proposed, or actual plea allocutions relating to the scheme alleged in this case” (see Shor Letter at 8)), notwithstanding whether such materials were ever communicated to outside counsel or would be discoverable pursuant to Triumph Capital, Brady, Giglio, or on any other legal basis. The Government will produce any relevant materials resulting from this search by June 26, 2020. The Government believes that searching for and producing to the Court and the parties internal communications of this kind is appropriate in light of the specific facts of this case; namely, the mistakes described in the Government Letter, irrespective of whether such communications are discoverable or can be used in any way by either defendant. However, the Government does not believe that this search should be required to include phone logs, as requested in the Shor Letter. To the extent they are maintained, phone logs would not reflect the substance of actual conversations, and expanding the search to include them is not warranted." Will Judge Failla, like Judge Nathan, ask who is responsible?

  Back on July 11 the jury found both Ahuja and Shor guilty. This came after, on the 4th of July, Judge Katherine Polk Failla denied Shor's bid to introduce into evidence portions of the FBI Form 302 interview with James Nimberg. Or maybe it was the text message, introduced into evidence, in which Shor told Ashisha Dole and cooperating witness Majidi, "I’m done giving frank a BJ. Sorry to be crass boss. Back in 3."
  On November 25, Judge Failla sentenced Ahuja to 50 months and no forfeiture, after lavishing praise on him and his family. His lawyer requested Otisville, or Canaan in Connecticut and in any event no MCC or MDC. Judge Failla said she would accommodate that. She called Ajuha "less crude" than Shor. She closed by praising Ajuha for the respect he showed.

What is such respect were shown for all defendants and sentencees? What would that look like? It was said that filing during the trial that were not, still, in the public record now will be going forward.  There will also be something on restitution in 90 days. Watch this site. 

  On November 18, Judge Failla sentenced Shor to 40 months in prison. Inner City Press later that day asked Shor if he had any comment he would or could make. Now on November 20 he has added, and we immediately publish: "I still believe, as Former Associate Justice Brandeis said many years ago:  ‘... electric light is the most efficient policeman.’ Louis Brandeis Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States." We'll have more on this.

   U.S. District Court for the Southern District Judge Kathleen Polk Failla requested permission to ask her own questions, as to to clarify for the jury the difference between the bid and "mid" price, between the bid and asked.

  Now on Saturday, June 29 the lawyers for Shor have asked Judge Failla to allow in some evidence - this as other defendants are convicted, with assigned lawyers they say they don't trust, in trials lasting three days, covered here by Inner City Press. The new Shor filing: "Dear Judge Failla: We write on behalf of defendant Jeremy Shor to request the Court’s permission to introduce a single recorded statement made by Amin Majidi to Mr. Shor on December 22, 2015. Mr. Majidi’s statement is relevant to Mr. Shor’s state of mind as to why Mr. Shor continued to work at Premium Point Investments (“PPI”) following his meeting with the Chief Compliance Officer on December 15, 2015; specifically, the statement constitutes evidence that Mr. Shor was led to believe that the pricing practices at PPI were going to improve. We seek to introduce the recording through cross examination of Evan Jay by playing a portion of the audio (the statement by Mr. Majidi and the preceding non-substantive statement by Mr. Shor to identify him as the other participant in the conversation) to Mr. Jay who we believe will be able to identify the voices on the recording. Once verified, we seek to play Mr. Majidi’s statement in open court. We would play the approximately one-minute clip from the December 22, 2015 conversation during our cross examination of Mr. Jay:

[SHOR: You have a vacation coming; I’m starting vacation on Thursday, I’m in tomorrow… (to Mr. Jay only)]

MAJIDI: I mean even, even, even, even, even, you know, it’s, w-, w-, what kills me is that all that, you know, I, I have the ability to, I think to be human and, and fair about things and you know and see positivity in stuff. Like, even, even, like even the conversation you, you had with, with Evan, which, you know, one level, and you know I see you sitting there with the compliance guy, my, my, I’m pins and needles, and, s-, stomach acid is going crazy, then I get pulled into a three-hour meeting when I was coming out and joking and thanking and dreaming of sushi, I see positives come out of that. We, we fixed one trade, we show we’re making an effort, we’ll clean up the book, mark it down for the end of the year. So I’m appreciative of something that caused me a lot of distress, I, I know there’s something good will come out of it. So, what I’m, what I’m, again I’m disappointed that even despite, you know, the shitty year and stuff like that, I think your mindset is that we can’t, we can’t salvage. But, but, it’s like, shit, these, these things are, these careers and relationships are long term. Mr. Majidi’s statement to Mr. Shor constitutes relevant, admissible evidence for at least two reasons. First, Mr. Majidi’s assurances—that “something good will come out of” Mr. Shor’s actions and that his actions caused PPI to “fix[] one trade” and would cause PPI to “clean up the book” and “mark it down for the end of the year”—are relevant to Mr. Shor’s state of mind in December 2015 and thereafter because he was told that his concerns were going to be addressed. Through recent testimony, the Government has suggested to the jury that Mr. Shor is guilty of the charged offenses in part because he continued to participate in wrongful conduct after his meeting with Mr. Jay. Specifically, the following testimony was elicited during the redirect examination of Mr. Majidi: Q. Is Mr. Shor talking here about going to -- AOC is where Frank Dinucci worked; right? A. Yes. Q. What's PT short for? A. Performance Trust. Q. This is approximately a month after you saw him go into the compliance officer's office? A. Yes. Q. Did Mr. Shor mark the Mortgage Credit Fund for month end December 2015? A. Yes. Q. Did he also do so for January 2016? A. Yes. (Tr. 2844: 9-16.)

The Government also suggested yesterday through redirect examination of Mr. Dinucci that reporting issues to Compliance does not obviate past or continued criminal activity. (Tr. 3699: 6-11.) While that generally may be true, Mr. Majidi’s statement is relevant..." We'll have more on this.


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