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Guilty Verdict For Defendant Who Testified He Had Fentanyl Due To WhatsApp Threats from DR

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, Patreon
Honduras - The Source - The Root - etc

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 1 – Moments before picking a jury in the criminal trial in US v. Carlos Smith Pitterson, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Jed S. Rakoff on October 28 questioned the defendant's sister Cristela Smith if she knew what the word "warrant" meant.

  Ultimately it didn't matter, at least not to the jury. After two hours on Friday, November 1 the jury returned five guilty verdicts against Smith Pitterson. The prosecutors immediately said it is a mandatory remand case and wanted Pitterson hauled away by Marshals.

 Judge Rakoff said he is not a fan of that law, but it is the law, absent exceptional circumstances. Pitterson's lawyer cited his diabetes and a slew of medications from Doctor Babu Patel, M.D..

  Judge Rakoff, to his credit, gave Mr. Smith Pitterson three weeks to turn himself in. The sentencing will be on March 4.

 Judge Rakoff made a point of say he does not hold it against a defendant to go to trial, and to testify. He told the prosecutors not to bother asking for any additional sentence for what they would claim was false testimony, whatever Rakoff thought of it - that would put a chill over defendants' right to take the stand.

 Pitterson did take the stand, and it seems it didn't help him. He testified that a Pepe he hadnt' seen in ten years threatened him to phone from Santo Domingo, to pick up and sent him money, then to pick up and distribute "medicine."

  Pitterson seemed, at least to this reporter, to be a man of dignity and some integrity. But was the story credible? Apparently not to the jury. Inner City Press intends to cover the sentencing in this case. Watch this site.

   Back on October 28 with Pitterson's sister, the issue was a May 2019 search of a bedroom in Cristala's Bronx apartment in which Carlos sometimes stayed, and in which heroin and fentanyl were found.   Cristela Smith on October 28 testified that the agents who came to her door stuck a foot in the door to not allow her to close it.

   But the government's rebuttal witness Agent Ramirez said she never saw such a foot. She said that Cristela Smith consented to the search as long as she could be present and observe.

    Judge Rakoff, twenty minutes before opening statements, credited Agent Ramirez' testimony and denied Smith Pitterson's motion to dismiss. He acknowledged that the four agents' failure to bring up to the apartment from their car the consent form raised doubts.

   Smith Pitterson's lawyer Camille M. Abate then raised the issue that Judge Rakoff had refused to the motion to suppress as "ridiculous."

Judge Rakoff thanked her for raising it, and explained that he meant that the evidence found in the apartment might not be material given the other evidence the government says it has in the case.

  Now on October 31, Judge Rakoff questioned Pitterson prior to him testifying before the jury. While the defense of duress has been withdrawn, the argument is, or was, that to understand why Pitterson did what he did, what he heard from Pepe in Santo Domingo should be heard.

  But when the testimony actually happened, Pitterson went beyond simply answering the questions his lawyer put to him. Judge Rakoff called a sidebar, then sent the jury home for the day. Pitterson will continue on November 1 - and will be cross examined. Watch this site. The case is US v. Smith Pitterson, 19-cr-468 (Rakoff).


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