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SDNY Judge Rakoff Denies Motion To Suppress After Hearing Amid Jury Selection

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, Patreon
Honduras - The Source - The Root - etc

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 28 – Moments before picking a jury in the criminal trial in US v. Carlos Smith Pitterson, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Jed S. Rakoff questioned the defendant's sister Cristela Smith if she knew what the word "warrant" means.

   She said she did.

   The issue was a May 2019 search of a bedroom in Cristala's Bronx apartment in which Carlos sometimes stayed, and in which heroin and fentanyl were found.   Cristela Smith on October 28 testified that the agents who came to her door stuck a foot in the door to not allow her to close it.

   But the government's rebuttal witness Agent Ramirez said she never saw such a foot. She said that Cristela Smith consented to the search as long as she could be present and observe.

    Judge Rakoff, twenty minutes before opening statements, credited Agent Ramirez' testimony and denied Smith Pitterson's motion to dismiss. He acknowledged that the four agents' failure to bring up to the apartment from their car the consent form raised doubts.

   Smith Pitterson's lawyer Camille M. Abate then raised the issue that Judge Rakoff had refused to the motion to suppress as "ridiculous."

Judge Rakoff thanked her for raising it, and explained that he meant that the evidence found in the apartment might not be material given the other evidence the government says it has in the case.

    Assistant US Attorney Daniel Wolf argued, just before a nine minute lunch break before opening statements, that some of the exhibits submitted by Ms. Abate implied a defense of duress. Judge Rakoff said that could be taken up before the end of direct examination of the first witness in the trial. The case is US v. Smith Pitterson, 19-cr-468 (Rakoff).


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