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COVID Restrictions Delayed Safety Valve Proffer Now Cuong Bang Gets 80 Months

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, April 27 –  Cuong Bang was charged in a drug conspiracy with his brother. He was and is eligible for the Safety Valve but understandably did not want his proffer used against his brother, who the US argues was not safety value eligible (and got 180 months).

 On July 9, 2020 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Lewis J. Liman held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it. 

  Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Hanft argued that Judge Liman should set a trial date, that Cuong Bang could not pick his own timing for a proffer.

Judge Liman, noting the delay of trials by the COVID-19 pandemic, instead set another conference for September 11 (which he called an inauspicious day, but one by more may be known about the timing of trials).  

Cuong Bang's lawyer Sabrina Shroff noted that the US Attorney's Office in some cases emphasizes that trial must be delayed and in other case like this one seeks to push forward. She cited upcoming trial for other other detained clients.

 On May 14, 2021, Judge Liman held another conference, by Zoom and phone, and Inner City Press again covered it. The US Attorney's Office maintained that a written proffer was not enough, that it wants to ask follow up questions.

  But Cuong Bang's lawyer Sabrina Shroff understandably wanted to be present. Judge Liman set a July 12 deadline for motions, and said COVID seems to be lifting.

Jump cut to April 27, 2022, when Cuong Bang was up for sentencing. The AUSA wanted 96 months; Shroff asked for 60 months, and spoke convincingly of Cuong Bang's limited role. Judge Liman split the difference - almost - and arrived at 80 months. And so it goes in the SDNY.

 This case is US v. Bang et al., 19-cr-213 (Liman)


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