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In SDNY Child Prostitution Case Against Claudius English Before Judge Gardephe Nears Backpage End

By Matthew Russell Lee

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 6 – A young woman pimped out and forced to quit high school testified on June 5 in a disturbing prostitution prosecution case proceeding without (other) media coverage before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Paul G. Gardephe. In a courtroom with an otherwise empty gallery, a witness whom Inner City Press will not name testified to being forced into oral sex by a pimp, Jay, who fired a gun from his roof and threatened her Irvington, New Jersey parents.

  On June 6 the trial continued, with a Special Agent Nelson testifying about IP addresses from which advertisements were taken out. From this and only this - there has been no U.S. Attorney's Office press release or even mention on the list of cases displayed in the SDNY lobby, Inner City Press learned the name of the case: USA v. Claudius English a/k/a Jay Barnes a/k/a Brent English, 18-cr-492 (PGG).

 The conduct at issue - the shooting of a gun from the roof, the forced sex, the buying of advertisements and re-sale of Shitsu dog - took place in 1955 Davidson Avenue, Apartment B2, Bronx NY 10453. The payments were made through Comerica Bank.

  Inner City Press went into 40 Foley Square Courtroom 705 to cover it and drew stares, and whispers. Why are such prosecutions so secret and so little covered? A question to the prosecution has yet to get an answer, even as the office prepares to close its case. What about general deterrence?

  The witness, tragically, for a time took the NYC subway and the PATH train to her high school in New Jersey, then stopped. She was forced to have sex with men, and was attacked for dating boys her own age. She lost her Shitsu dog.

  The defense, doing its job, ended June 5 questioning the quality of disclosure, no 3500 material about the witnesses interviews with prosecutors in The Bronx. Judge Gardephe told the US Attorney's Office to look into it.

  Later on June 5 Assistant US Attorneys Michael Krouse and Ni Qian wrote to Judge Gardephe that they had "spoke[n] by phone to the two relevant former Bronx ADAs, Lauren Di Chiara and Meagan Powers. Both stated they met with Sarah W. before she testified in the grand jury, but that they do not believe they took notes."

The trial is almost over, and still there are answers outstanding - but at least now there is a case number. Watch this site.

Earlier on June 5 also in 40 Foley Square a plea agreement for cooperation in a case not disclosed anywhere was cut  before SDNY Judge Paul A. Engelmayer. 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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