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Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

SDNY Judge Torres Suspends Hearing To Go Visit Brooklyn MDC Then May Resume

By Matthew Russell Lee, Periscope video, II

NEW YORK CITY, February 5 – The conditions in the Brooklyn MDC were the subject of a hearing that began at 11 am on February 5 before Judge Analisa Torres of the the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Then after 3 pm and the testimony of a witness she called, John Ross of the FBI, Judge Torres suspended the hearing to go and visit the MDC. She was asked if the press could accompany her. No, she said. Notice would be given if the hearing would resume.

Ross of the FBI acknowledged that things in cell 562 "seemed cool." That coolness, at approximately 50 degrees, was linked by another witness to cell 723, which also had a leak. Some inmates had leaks directly onto their beds. There was no laundry, and so they slept on cold sheets, some in the same underwear and socks all week. Federal Defenders still had their phone lines working, but the "social lines" which are paid by money in an inmate's commissionary were out for the week. This is a problem, it was explained, especially for court appointed lawyers who already have trust problems with their clients.

Dierdre Dionysia von Dornum of Federal Defenders suggested to Judge Torres that she create a special master for the MDC, like the Fed asked for and got for Rikers Island.  Congress member Nidia Velasquez visited the MDC but was told she couldn't talk to any inmates, allegedly because of the count. What about the SHU, the Special Housing Unit, where there is no count because no one gets out of their cell? This was not explained. Judge Torres went to see for herself. (An intrepid journalist tweeted a photo of Judge Torres going on, here.) Watch this site - and, for now, this interim Periscope video during the break. Earlier, inside the Daniel Patrick Moynahan Federal Courthouse entrance, the security line snaked around, longer then usual. First Periscope video here. It made it difficult for Inner City Press to get in and still exit, retrieve electronics and report. But report we shall.

Upcoming in the SDNY is a just-filed complaint by the Bangladesh Central Bank for the $81 million hacking of its funds, which were then wired through the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a case that Inner City Press will cover. Times change. Watch this site.


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