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In SDNY Defendant Polanco Claims No Tie To Citgo Robbery Before Judge Engelmayer

By Matthew Russell Lee

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 19 – In the trial of US v. Jason Polanco many videos of store robberies were shown on June 19 complete with play by play by one participant, Joshua Kemp. In Bureau of Prison blues, Kemp described buying Halloween masks on Fordham Road and targeting a liquor store in Washington Heights.

   In the courtroom of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Paul A. Engelmayer the jurors started intently at their screens as Kemp chased a liquor store worker. The defendant, presumably, pushed a liquor store customer to the ground. Later they ran off down the sidewalk. Today everything is filmed.

  But there are still disputes. Polanco's lawyer Donna R. Newman on June 18 wrote to Judge Engelmayer about "the substantive Hobbs Act robbery of a Citgo station on November 24, 2014," saying that "there is no disinterested eyewitness identification of Mr. Polanco, no DNA, no fingerprints, and nothing that links Mr. Polanco to these robberies other than the word of a cooperating witness, Joshua Kemp."

  Inner City Press has asked the US Attorney's Office for the government exhibits. Later on June 19, a plea that Judge Engelmayer was supposed to take in US v Meyers, initially with no case number, was abruptly postponed. Inner City Press believes it has the case number, and the adjourned-to date - watch this site, @InnerCityPress and the new @SDNYLIVE.

Back on June 5 before Judge Engelmayer a plea agreement for cooperation in a case not disclosed anywhere was cut. The only name given was "Padilla;" no case number was given. A lesser sentence under a so-called 5K letter was promised. But what was the case?

 Inner City Press which happened to be in the 40 Foley Square courthouse overflow room then press room overtaken by others on the Census question, undertook to search PACER for Padilla's. Of Padilla's having open cases in the SDNY there are 62. Among the defendants, it seems only Miguel Padilla is before Judge Engelmayer, in the wider indictment USA v. Rios et al., 18-cr-331 (PAE). There the most recent Docket File, No. 105, is sealed. And so it goes in the SDNY.

In the SDNY Magistrates Court later on June 5, a defendant called Nathaniel Taylor was denied bail; his sister and his partner, mother of his two month old son, spoke out as they left the courtroom.

   As recounted by Assistant US Attorney Thomas John Wright, Taylor had run from police in front of the housing project he lives or lived in at 1390 Fifth Avenue. He threw down a fanny pack that contained a 9 millimeter pistol.

  Taylor was jailed in Maine, previously, on narcotics charges. According to AUSA Wright he shattered a man's jaw. Taylor's Federal Defender lawyers, predictably, had a different story, of a baby in the NIC unit and aunts that work for the MTA and as a chef in Yankee Stadium. Both pictures can be true.

  Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein said the government met its burder and ordered Taylor, how ever his first name is spelled, detained. This as a accused pedofile Bryan Pivnick floated through his courtroom taking steps to being released, because his mother owns a home in New Jersey. Fannie pack indeed.

Earlier on June 5 a defendant called (phonetically) Joel Rodriguez was presented on fentanyl charges and was approved for release on bond. Rodriguez' Federal Defender lawyer apologized for using what SDNY Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein called "a twenty year old CJA form."

  Earlier still despite the drugs, which led to his arrest at JFK Airport at 11:45 pm the previous night, the government and Federal Defenders agreed on a bail package and Judge Gorenstein rubber stamped it. Only, neither the agreement nor even the case number was available.

Earlier on June 5 a shackled defendant known as Mister Booth asked to be released on bond so that he could have physical therapy on June 8 for a gunshot wound.

  Then the Assistant U.S. Attorney told Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein that Mr. Booth is in fact a suspect in a shooting related to the physical therapy he seeks. The AUSA said Booth has pending New York State cases including for dislocating his own daughter's shoulder. Judge Gorenstein said none of this was in the Probation Department's report; he remanded Booth and ordered Geoffrey Berman's office to come up with more information.

  Inner City Press, the only media in the Mag Court and still without access to the underlying case numbers or even full names, will have more on this. The information is clearly available: Judge Gorenstein said to his Deputy in open court, What does tomorrow's calendar look like? Why aren't those calendars public? See @SDNYLIVE.


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