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Federal Trial of Slip and Fall Fraud Raises Issues of Bloods Gang, Nine Eleven and Low Hanging Fruit

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon, Periscope

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 7 – The U.S. government put three men on trial on May 7 for staged slip and fall accidents and fraudulent lawsuits. But from its first day the trial raised issues about Bloods gang culture, the prosecutors' propensity to use conflicted criminals as witness to go after low hanging fruit, and the potential of having witnessed the 9/11/01 attacks to sway a jury.  

 In open arguments before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Sidney H. Stein, the lawyer for incarcerated defendant Bryan Duncan, Ikeisha T. Al-Shabazz, argued that U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman's office is going after the "low hanging fruit."

 Berman's Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexandra Rothman objected to the phrase, or perhaps only the word "hanging." Judge Stein sustained the objection, saying "I don't even know what that means," and told Ms. Al-Shabazz to move on.    

Likewise when Mitchell Dinnerstein, lawyer for defendant Robert Locust, asked of one of the lawyers involved in the slip and fall lawsuit, "Where's George?" Judge Stein stopped him and told the jury, "What law enforcement does is not of concern to this case." 

Later Judge Stein told Dinnerstein, with the jury out on a ten minute break, "You are not in the good graces of the court. I'm surprised at you." He told the group of seven lawyers that it had been a "very sloppy opening" and then asked why the witnesses mentioned in motions filed with him were not named.   

One of the witnesses whose WhatsApp messages with Duncan will be admitted into evidence has a pattern, Ms. Al-Shabazz argued, of replacing all c's with k's. She filed with Judge Stein a copy of a New York City Police Department "General Gang Rules" for the Bloods, which lists as Rule 26 "Always cross out your C's" - because Crips begins with C. Judge Stein said he will allow it.   

Another witness with mental issues relates those back to what he saw on September 11, 2001. The defense says this will sway the jury to the witness' side. On these and other questions, Judge Stein said the scope of cross examination will be decided as the trial goes forward.

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Judge Stein told the jury not to read press coverage about the case, while predicting there would be no press coverage of it. But why then are there three separate Assistant U.S. Attorneys on the case, two marshals shepherding Duncan in and out of the courtroom even during breaks, and rulings to keep out information about the lawyers and funding companies behind this slip and fall fraud scheme? Inner City Press will continue to cover this trial. More on Patreon, here. The case is U.S. v. Bryan Duncan, et al., 18-cr-00289 (Stein).


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