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After US Attorney Drops Guilty Verdicts on Iran Banker July 3 Expression of Disgust at SDNY

By Matthew Russell Lee, Thread, Patreon Song

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 3 – Iranian banker Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad has 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. Respectfully submitted, /s/ GEOFFREY S. BERMAN  United States Attorney"

 Then on July 2, under Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss, a news dump of 19 pages, with the names of those responsible (here on Patreon) including this: "Other Classified Material. During its post-trial review, the trial AUSAs discovered another item of classified material that would be subject to Rule 16 disclosure. This item has not been declassified. Given the Government’s request for a nolle prosequi, declassification in connection with this case is not likely to occur because components of the United States Government involved in the handling of the classified information would be unlikely to authorize use of the information in the absence of an active criminal prosecution with attendant Rule 16 obligations. (The Government has previously advised the defense of the foregoing.) Suppression. The defendant’s post-trial motions include a motion to reconsider the Court’s partial denial of their motion to suppress email evidence. On February 20, 2020, the FBI sent to AUSAs Krouse, Kim, and Lake and ADA Lynch an email referencing a June 7, 2016 FBI FD1057 relating to Farshid Kazerani (who testified as a Government witness at trial). Noting that the report was classified, the FBI email did not attach the report, but described it as “from when our Seattle office made contact with Kazerani in Seattle to notify him that FBI New York was trying Case 1:18-cr-00224-AJN Document 354 Filed 07/02/20 Page 5 of 19 The Honorable Alison J. Nathan July 2, 2020 Page 6 to get in contact with him,” and that “Kazerani’s statement acknowledged the request, his current school and work situation and his contact information.” Following trial, in connection with his search for classified information, discussed above, AUSA Krouse requested that report..."

Now on July 3, a letter from Nejad's counsel (full letter here on Patreon) including: "Re: United States v. Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad, Case No. 18-cr-224 (AJN) Dear Judge Nathan:  We are surprised and disappointed by the revelations in the government’s letter of July 2, 2020 (Dkt. 354). We are nearly as surprised and disappointed at some of the positions taken by the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s “Criminal Discovery Coordinator and Professional Responsibility Officer” to minimize, deflect, and deny, avoiding any acknowledgment or acceptance of responsibility for the government’s obvious, repeated failures and its notable lack of candor. These new revelations fully justify the relief sought by Sadr. We respectfully request that the Court enter forthwith Sadr’s proposed order (Dkt. 349-2) granting a new trial, stating that the “verdict is vacated, and has no legal effect,” and dismissing this case with prejudice.   The government minimizes its disclosure violations related to classified evidence, and remarkably defends AUSA Laroche’s statement to the Court that there would be no classified discovery or CIPA litigation by claiming that AUSA Laroche’s “evaluation has in fact proven to be correct.” Ltr. at 16. To be clear: the only reason there was no classified discovery or CIPA litigation is that the government improperly failed to disclose exculpatory evidence located in “classified” materials prior to trial." We'll have more on this - particularly the continuing withholding / cover up of documents.

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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