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After DOJ Dropped Nejad Verdicts Judge Grants Inner City Press Unsealing Now Emails Galore

By Matthew Russell Lee, Thread, Patreon Song

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Feb 25 – Iranian banker Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad had been on trial, charged with money laundering and violating US sanctions including through a Venezuelan infrastructure project.

  On March 16, after an unprecedented decision to proceed with ten jurors in the jury room and an eleventh at home, deliberating by video conference or FaceTime, he was found guilty on most charges. Live tweeted thread here.

 Late on Friday, June 5 this news dump: "Re: United States v. Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejadin, 18 Cr. 224 (AJN)  Dear Judge Nathan: The Government respectfully submits the enclosed application for an order of nolle prosequi of the Indictments filed in this case against Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejadin (“Sadr”) and Bahram Karimi.

 Inner City Press on October 30, 2020 filed to unseal DOJ's sealed submissions, in Docket Number 393.

 On February 17, 2021, this (partial) Order: " The prosecutors have requested that their declarations and the exhibits be maintained under seal. See Dkt. Nos. 383–87, 394–95. Mr. Sadr and two press organizations oppose sealing. See Dkt. Nos. 389, 394, 388, 393. Astonishingly, even in its latest filings, the Government has informed the Court of yet another failure of disclosure in this case related to the FBI’s review of raw state search-warrant returns." Yes, astonishing.

"The Court sets out its reasoning in more detail in an Opinion concurrently filed under temporary seal to allow the prosecutors an opportunity to propose limited redactions. It summarizes its conclusions and orders below.... The Court thus ORDERS as follows: 1. The Court does not find that the prosecutors intentionally withheld documents from the defense or intentionally misled the Court, and thus will not engage in further fact-finding related to attorney misconduct. 2. The Court urges a full investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility. 3. The Court GRANTS the motions of the press organizations to intervene."

 And now, many documents and emails have been unsealed, and reported here and in other media. Meanwhile, some defendants and suspects like in Honduras, including president JOH, are saying that the Nejad case exonerates them as well. As they say in Spanish, No tiene nada que ver. We'll have more on this.

Back on June 7, still without any press release by the SDNY Press Office about this development, this from Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad through his lawyers: "Ali Sadr welcomes the government’s decision to drop this misguided prosecution and wholeheartedly agrees that it is in the interest of justice for the Court to dismiss this case. See Dkt. 348. However, a nolle prosequi—a common-law action superseded by the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure—is not the proper mechanism to do so. Among other reasons, allowing the government to proceed in this manner might be viewed as permitting the unlawfully obtained guilty verdict to stand, which could conceivably have adverse immigration consequences for Sadr in addition to perpetuating the reputational harm he has already suffered. The government’s nolle prosequi submission, stating it unilaterally will not proceed further, also might not be deemed a dismissal of the case with prejudice. The government has confirmed, in a June 5, 2020 phone call and a June 6, 2020 exchange of emails, that it intended to dismiss the case with prejudice. Accordingly, Sadr is submitting a proposed order confirming that the dismissal is with prejudice, and making explicit that the verdict is vacated and is null and void."

Back in March: Judge Nathan: "The jury has reached a verdict.... The juror on video conference will stay on until he hears from me further." Jury entering! Judge Nathan: "I'll ask the foreperson. Has the jury asked a unanimous verdict?" Yes.

 Judge Nathan: Count 1, how do you find the defendant, with conspiring to defraud the US? Guilty. Count 2: Guilty.

Judge Nathan (after sidebar) "On Count 3, bank fraud, how do you find? Guilty. Under 1344, prong 1, neither (?) Count 4: bank fraud conspiracy:  Under 1344, prong 1, neither (?) Under 1344, prong 2, guilty

Judge Nathan: Count 5: Guilty. Count 6, money laundering conspiracy: Not guilty. Now polling jurors: one? 2? [soon the virtual juror] Let me confirm the verdict with Juror Number 7... I have confirmed it is his verdict. I will dismiss the jury.

  After Judge Nathan had declined to sent Sadr to jail pending sentencing but instead converted him to home detention, Inner City Press rushed out to do a Periscope video live stream (here) and try to ask Sadr a question. His lawyers left in a yellow cab, then he left. Inner City Press asked, Are you going to appeal? He answered softly, Of course. Then he too got in a yellow cab.

  On March 16 amid the Coronavirus COVID-19 crisis, jury deliberations ran into a problem. SDNY Judge Nathan proposed proceeding with ten jurors in the jury room and one connected from outside by video.

 Assistant US Attorney Michael Krause objected. But Judge Nathan said there are extraordinary circumstances and she would proceed thusly. Inner City Press live tweeted it all: thread here. More on Patreon here.

Ali Sadr is represented by lawyer Reid Weingarten of Steptoe & Johnson and, on November 25 as reported by Inner City Press by Brian M. Heberlig before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Alison J. Nathan.

  On Sunday, March 8 [alongside this song] the US Attorney Office which closed its case on March 9 past 9 pm submitted a letter, below.

 On March 12 in closing arguments, this happened:  As jury charge continues: Judge Nathan has just deployed the old saw about circumstantial evidence, that if people come into a windowless courtroom with wet umbrella, jurors are free to conclude it is raining outside. 

But what about Iran sanctions?

AUSA Krause: The defendant knew what he was doing violated US sanctions against Iran. The defendant is charged with six felonies. Mohammad Sadr was the beneficiary of the payments. ...

It's good to have money, in essence. This is not how lower income defendants are often treated in the SDNY. The case is USA v. Nejad,  18-cr-00224 (Nathan). More on Patreon here



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