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After Fatico Hearing Touching on Kenya Drugs and Dutch Murder Akashas Face Sentencing Aug 16

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 16 – Drug trafficking in Kenya, murder in Amsterdam and the possibility of execution in India all came up in an ill-attended Fatico hearing on July 26 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Victor Marrero.

   Baktash Akasha Abdalla was to be sentenced on August 19. But issues arose about the credibility of government witness Mr. Vicky Goswami, whom the government describes as "the Akashas' trusted co-conspirator [who] after he was released from a long prison sentence in Dubai moved to Kenya and worked in partnership with Baktash, Ibrahmi and others on their drugs and violence."

  Baktash's lawyer George Robert Goltzer on July 26 mocked the government's reliance on Goswami, pointing at inconsistencies in the 3500 material turned over.

 But Judge Marrero, after praising Golzer and Ibrahim Akasha Abdalla's lawyer Dawn Cardi for their professional presentation, took the government's side. He said that multi-day proffers like Goswami's can result in seeming inconsistencies. But he found no inconsistency on the issues before him: the murder of "Pinky" and Ibrahim's use of a firearm. The case is USA v. Abdalla, et al., 14-cr-00716 (Marrero).

  Notwithstanding Judge Marrero's quotation from Robert Frost's poem "The Hangman," or with that perhaps as a harbinger, Baktash now faces sentencing on August 16 in the morning (Golzer asked that it not be in the afternoon so that Baktash won't have to spend all day in a holding cell). He faces a life sentence. Ibrahim is to be sentence much later, on November 8. Inner City Press will continue to cover these days, as long as they are open, see below.

Back on July 12 in a child sex trafficking trial there was a sign on the courtroom door barring the Press: "JUDGE CHARGING JURY: NO Admittance."

  Inner City Press, which alone has been covering the case all week, asked the Court Security Officer who was not responsible for the sign but replied, That is how it is.

After some telephone calls, belatedly the door was unlocked and Inner City Press was allowed to sit in the back. But what explained the locking up of a presumptively open criminal jury trial? This has not been answered; nor has the unilaterally sealing and ouster of the Press from two recent criminal sentencings in the SDNY, here (Judge Schofield) and here (Judge Preska).

Alongside the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking charges and attendants media interest there is a sex trafficking trial taking place with no media present other than Inner City Press in the same
SDNY. On July 9 an FBI agent was questioned and then cross-examined about finding a jar of condoms, bras and panties and victims in the defendant's apartment, which police and agents entered in a stack on December 12, 2018. That came a day after a sealed indictment on December 11, wheeled out to Judge Victor Marrero, with a warrant executed the next day.

 Now seven months later Lloyd Kidd a/k/a Chris Kidd is on trial. His attorney Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma has argued to Judge Marrero that the government violated the Fourth Amendment, to no avail.

  By July 11 Judge Marrero was taking final comments on his jury charge. The government wanted the instructions to note that the Backpage summaries had been admitted into evidence. The defense lawyer was distracted, telling his client Kidd he had to let him concentrate. Kidd then directed his ire to another at the defense table. Perhaps he seems things coming to a bad end. But the U.S. Attorney's Office has yet to make public a single one of the exhibits, and the video monitor for the press and public in the gallery remained dark on July 11.

 It was on July 12 that Inner City Press was barred from much of Judge Marrero's jury charge. Once in, Judge Marrero read through the elements including the names of some of the victims. He said that the tradition in this District is the Juror Number 1, whom he named, will be the foreperson.

Judge Marrero thanked and instructed the two alternate jurors, whom he named, to leave - without telling them to still comply with the usual rules, and that they might have to come back. Does he know something? Inner City Press in order to not be locked out again stayed in for the next proceeding, in which 27% of a settlement going to attorneys fees was approved. We'll have more on all this: watch this site.

 On July 10 a slew of government exhibits were introduced, but again none shown on the monitor for the press and public gallery. The microphone of Witness Ms. Brown cut in and out. But when the defense object to the exhibits as cumulative and prejudicial -- was cited -- and a sidebar was called, the white noise to block it out worked just fine. When it was over, the exhibits were admitted without objection. But what are they? Where are they? Inner City Press has asked.

Meanwhile Assistant US Attorneys Mollie Bracewell, Elinor Tarlow and Jacob Gutwillig complained to Judge Marrero that victims / witnesses have been intimidated in telephone calls to numbers the government provided to the defense on July 5 designated as "confidential, attorneys eyes only."

  Inner City Press went to see the trial on July 9 - after being unceremoniously told to leave another criminal proceeding - and found most government objections to the cross examination of the FBI agent being sustained. The video monitor meant for the press and public was not showing any of the exhibits. We'll have more on this. The case is US v. Kidd, 18-cr-872 (VM).

  That Jeffrey Epstein, now in the Metropolitan Correctional Center by Foley Square, will be denied bail later this week is widely reported. But as Inner City Press has reported from the SDNY Magistrates Court this year, at least two accused pedofiles have been released on bond, with conditions.

One, Donnie Fetters, was bailed by Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang on May 10 and allowed to fly back to Iowa from whence he came to Laguardia to meet an underage girl, or what he thought was an underage girl. See the Inner City Press, the only media that day in the Magistrate Court, story here. Fetters remains free; most recently his appearance before SDNY Judge Victor Marrero was waived. This case is now US v. Fetters, 19-cr-387 (VM).

On May 30 SDNY Magistrate Judge James L. Cott granted bond to Bryan Pivnick, accused of grooming an 11 year old boy, see Inner City Press story here: now Pivnick is asking for greater access to the Internet in New Jersey, ostensibly to pay his student loans. This case is now US v. Pivnick, 19-cr-00464 (PKC). More on Patreon, here.

  The rights or lack of rights of victims have been highlighted for some in this case - but the violation of rights of less prominent people has been happening every day, from before March until now in the SDNY including its murky Magistrates Court. Inner City Press was in the 2d Circuit in March and will be in the SDNY July 8, based from a PACER terminal, documenting the disparities. Watch this site.


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