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In SDNY Latvian Fraudster Gets Year and a Day As Lawyer Asks Judge Furman If He Watches News Hour

By Matthew Russell Lee

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 22 – A Latvian fraudster with a construction job waiting for him in Helsinki, Finland was sentence to a year and a day in prison then deportation by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Jesse M. Furman on July 22.

 Raitis Grigorjevs came to the US on his vacation in order to open up bank accounts to help with a wider scheme. On July 22 his lawyer Lawrence A. Dubin asked Judge Furman, "Do you watch the News Hour?"

  Judge Furman replied to not assume that he watches anything (although earlier in the proceeding he seemed to say he'd seen something on 60 Minutes). Dubin mused that his client is 27 and still no children, saying that the key will be to find the right woman.

  His argument seemed to work. While the guidelines called for 27 to 33 months, Grigorjevs got a year and a year, and then a new life in Finland where, if might seem, a prior US felony connection might not be a bar to much. There are of course the victims' letter in the docket, and other defendants coming up. Watch this site.

Back on April 9 another Latvian fraudster disputed his role in a scheme in Guersey to no avail before Judge Furman. Madars Jankevics was brought into the courtroom in shackles while Judge Furman heard an unrelated corporate dispute about a closed plant in India. But soon discussion turned to stolen credit cards buying pre-paid cell phones for resale and bank accounts in Guernsey. The legal issue that emerged concerned an upward departure from the sentence guidelines. Jankevics' lawyer asked for more time to get Guernsey documents. Gut Judge Furman pressed forward, staying within the guidelines at 51 months imprisonment, after which Jankevics will be deported. His lawyer said he only did it to support his family. Its an argument that got more play across the street before Judge Gregory Woods for an Esteban Martinez, who sold crack in Hunts Point in The Bronx. But there are, of course, differences. And Inner City Press will continues to cover them.

  Pleading guilty to possessing a firearm while a felon, Damon Bignon on April 9 nevertheless kept open an avenue for appeal of the evidence suppression ruling against him. Appearing in shackles before Judge Furman, Bignon was eminently polite, saying Yes your honor, thank you, your honor. But he disagrees with Judge Furman's ruling and wants to appeal it. His Federal Defenders lawyer asked for an expedited sentencing - something another SDNY judge earlier on April 9 said wasn't possible due to the underfunding of the Probation Department - and Judge Furman to his credit agreed. Will the Second Circuit or Supreme Court rule for this polite bi-polar Bignon with a firearm found in his backpack -- allegedly! -- or not? Inner City Press will stay on this case.

  Some business litigation draws dozens of reporters, like that of Elon Musk on April 4, and some draws only one reporter like on April 9 Apotex Corp. v. Hospira Healthcare India Private Limited, 18-cv-04903-JMF. There, with Inner City Press the only media in the courtroom, Furman told the half dozen lawyers assembled that he had initially been inclined one way on a dismissing a motion to dismiss, and then the other. The lawyers had flown in for this, to tell Judge Furman about a plant closed in India and the difficulty of deposing employees there who no longer work at the closed plant. Before and after them there were shackled defendants pleading guilty and being sentenced to jail before deportation to Latvia. World collide in the SDNY. We'll have more on this.

   On April 4, Elon Musk appeared in Federal court to oppose an SEC motion that he be held in contempt for his tweets including about 500,000 Tesla cars in 2019. After nearly two hours of argument the SEC and Musk's lawyers were directed to negotiate for at least one hour in the next two weeks and try to reach a settlement. SDNY Judge Alison Nathan admonished the SEC for not having negotiated enough before "running into court and saying the sky was falling," as Musk's lawyer put it. Another member of Musk's team, whom Inner City Press in the courtroom dubbed Mister Slick, moved to sit between Musk and the podium and passed a note. Afterward Musk jumped into a Tesla with no front place waiting in Foley Square and sped away. Inner City Press recorded a Periscope video (here) and headed back into the courthouse.  Watch this site. As a class action lawsuit against BHH's rodent repellers creeps toward trial or settlement, on April 1in the the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge William Pauley heard arguments and ruled on no fewer than 14 motions in limine. There were nine from the class action plaintiffs, mostly successful, and five from the defendant, most unsuccessful.

During the three hours of argument, Judge Pauley said today is not the day to admit anonymous customer reviews from from the likes of "TaterSpud59" (whom he referred to as Tater Tot), and said that FTC press releases dubious about repellers will or would be admissible at trial, with a possible limiting instruction.

There was discussion of experts including a Michigan State University protocol which Judge Pauley shot down, adding that after MSU's victory over Duke, he is not disposed toward them. Judge Pauley took more time listening to arguments than many other judges would, and said he said spent the rainy Sunday - on which Duke was eliminated from NCAA March Madness - to read all of the papers. The sense, after the mouse motion marathon, was that the plaintiffs are in the driver's seat, and that the case may settle. There is a mediation scheduled for April 9 before Hon. John S. Martin (Ret). But Inner City Press will be cover it and what happens in the SDNY either way. The case is Hart, et al. v. BHH, LLC d/b/a Bell + Howell, et al., 15-cv-04804; class counsel is Yitzchak Kopel  and BHH is now represented by Quinn Emanuel We were also at Judge Pauley's courtroom on the news there would be a proceeding in US v Genovese, a hedge fund fraud prosecution. But it was not there - once we left the courtroom and retrieved electronics, we were able to ask and learned Genovese was adjourned to April 10. We'll have more on this.  Back on February 15 when Gustavo Salvador pled guilty to selling oxycodon in The Bronx before SDNY Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, his two lawyers tried to argue for a suspended remand based on the cold in the MDC Brooklyn. Judge Engelmayer turned them down saying he had personal knowledge that the heat was back on; not surprising. Surprising, though, was that a Bronx oxy dealer was represented by the white shoe Goodwin Proctor law firm. Was it pro bono? Their representation goes back at least until Thanksgiving, before the MDC Brooklyn conditions became public. In the audience, a young child then a baby cried. The volume of oxy pills was in the thousands, according to the indictment. The sentencing guidelines run from 57 to 71 months. Judge Engelmayer said he said something else on his schedule coming up, should the sentencing be rescheduled? It went forward. Goodwin Proctor. Later on February 15: on East 104th Street in Manhattan last April 24, multiple gunshots to the chest killed 17-year old Samuel Ozuna. A week later, 24-year old Gary Turner was arrested and charged. When Turner on February 15 changed his plea to guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Azuna's family members sat on one side of the courtroom. On the other, separted by security officers, were supporters of Turner. In the back, the only media in the room, was Inner City Press.


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