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Larry Ray Set For Jan 2021 SDNY Trial But Now July 22 Conference Canceled to October

By Matthew Russell Lee, Thread, Patreon
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SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 18 – When Larry Ray was arraigned on charges of sexual exploitation, prostitution, forced labor and money laundering on February 12, he was wearing prison blues and still had a Federal Defender, but no financial affidavit to have FD appointed. Twitter theadette; More on Patreon here. 

 On May 29 SDNY Judge Lewis J. Liman held a telephone conference, which Inner City Press live tweeted (below) and at which it was said, no legal visits in the MCC until June 30 at earliest.

 Now on July 17, Judge Liman has ordered: "RDER as to Lawrence Ray: The previously scheduled telephonic status conference in this case for July 22, 2020 is cancelled. In lieu of the status conference, the parties are directed to submit a joint letter by July 22, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. by ECF filing, discussing the status of the case including the status of discovery. In addition, the parties shall address whether they desire the Court to hold an additional status conference prior to the scheduled motion hearing set for October 19, 2020 and, if so, shall propose dates for such a conference. (Signed by Judge Lewis J. Liman on 7/17/2020) (ap)."

AUSA Sassoon described a "massive" discovery delivery, 12 terrabytes of data, one week ago.

Judge Liman asked, How long for remaining two TB of data?

 AUSA: We only got the drive this week, and the FBI staff who load the drives are not working 5 days a week. Two of the phones are now attached to Brute Force encryption breaking machines. Ten more still have to be extracted. "Some might require Brute Force to open."

Judge Liman said, "I'm going to put Brute Force to the side, I understand that's different. What about the other phones?"

AUSA Sassoon: A matter of weeks. The discovery timeline would have been tight even without Coronavirus.

Judge Liman: "Weeks" is very general.

AUSA: The non-sensitive discovery, we will deliver to the MCC even though the law library there is not operating. It seems the MCC is allowing video conferencing with defense counsel. But there will be no in person legal visits until at earliest June 30.

Federal Defender: We will likely make an application in the future once Mr. Ray receives the discovery material.

Judge Liman: Ms. Sassoon, I'm not going to order you to provide an earlier witness list, I am not aware of any law requiring that.

AUSA Sassoon: We are giving Mr. Ray his own emails, but not those of his victims. There is a possibility that as soon as the end of June his lawyers could meet with Mr. Ray. The 12 TBs, we have made the decision to do a narrower responsiveness review

 Federal  Defender: I would ask that your Honor order the government to narrow its responsiveness review of the electronic materials. That would help with some of the burden.

Judge Liman: Do you have authority that I can impose that on them?

FD: Not off-hand.

 Judge Liman: I have in the letter in front of me the proposal that trial start January 19, 2021, with trial to last 3 weeks. I will schedule one. 

FD: We'll agree to exclude time until the motions date only. We can revisit it then.

Judge Liman: I think the last transcript has an error - the motion return date in October 19. So that will be the exclusion of time date. I'd like to have conferences every six weeks to address issues that come up...  I will speak to you on July 22 at noon. We'll calendar that as a call. If the courthouse becomes more accessible, we may change it to an in-person conference.

Previous February 26 thread here.

  At the time, Ray had still not found his own lawyer, and the free Federal Defenders had not been appointed.

 In April 2020, Federal Defenders are trying again to get Ray released, citing COVID-19, see below. At first the hearing was set for April 22, then late on April 21 this: "Set/Reset Hearings as to Lawrence Ray: Status Conference set for 4/29/2020 at 10:30 AM by Videoconference before Judge Lewis J. Liman. (mf)"

  Video is better than phone. But as Inner City Press has repeatedly asked, as the SDNY moves to video why are the Press and public limited to phoning in? Perhaps it's Judge Liman who will solve this, by allowing video access. On April 21 he played by the book and adjourned an FLSA case against a chicken market to avoid ex parte contact. This issue, of press and public access to the visuals of what goes on in legal proceedings, is important. Watch this site.

 From the FDs' plea: "In light of the novel coronavirus, the following conditions will reasonably assure Mr. Ray’s appearance in court and the safety of the community: 1. A personal recognizance bond in the amount of $100,000, to be signed by Mr. Ray and two financially responsible persons... Home detention at Mr. Ray’s birth father’s home in Staten Island enforced by electronic monitoring; 6. Access to a phone and computer with the following restrictions: (i) computer to be used only for work-related purposes and to review discovery in this case; (ii) phone to be used only to make and receive calls to and from defense counsel and phone numbers agreed to by the Government... On February 11, 2020, Mr. Ray was arrested for allegations stemming from a salacious April 2019 New York Magazine article.  That day, he was presented on an Indictment before Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger and represented by the Federal Defenders of New York, Inc. Mr. Ray reserved his bail application without prejudice to make a motion at a later date. The following day, Mr. Ray appeared before Your Honor for arraignment on the Indictment and entered a plea of not guilty. On February 26, 2020, the Court held a status conference. During the conference, defense counsel raised concerns about the lack of medical care afforded to Mr. Ray at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Counsel requested that the Court issue a medical order mandating that Mr. Ray receive appropriate care for any and all medical concerns that arise while Mr. Ray is incarcerated, noting that Mr. Ray is diabetic. The Court declined to issue such a broad medical order. Instead, the Court issued an order directing the MCC to provide Mr. Ray with medical attention and treatment for diabetes."  Watch this site. 

 On March 2 Ray, now required to pay Federal Defenders for representing him - and what rate is not yet cleared - argued for but was denied release on bail. Federal Defender Marni Lenox said that Ray's history of orders of protection were due to the ugly child custody dispute; Assistant US Attorney Danielle Sassoon reminded Magistrate Judge Fox that it was in connection of "abducting" his 17 year old daughter.

 Judge Fox inquired into how the government can link ledges about prostitution and sex trafficking earnings to Ray. AUSA Sassoon said Ray used women to do his banking and carried around a backpack of cash, as well as his stable of Go Daddy domain names. Inner City Press live tweeted thread here.

  Ultimately Judge Fox said there were not conditions that could guarantee the safety of the community or people on it, and Ray's return to face trial. Now, how much will he have to pay Federal Defenders, from his domain name business?

   Assistant US Attorney Lindsey Keenan rattled off things found in his storage locker, including "44 hard drives, 37 cell phones, 5 laptop, 4 Palm Pilots, 27 memory cards, 70 CDs, 7 recorders and a polygraph machine." Polygraph?

  Federal Defender Marni Lenox was for an open ended medical order. Judge Liman agreed only to list diabetes, absent more specifics. Their protective order is due in a week's time, if Federal Defenders are appointed. Is Ray poor enough? Recently in the Magistrates Court Inner City Press reported on a money laundering suspect with a $600,000 house getting a free lawyer - from Milkbank, no less. More on Patreon here.

  The February 26 sputtered out thusly: "Judge Liman: I'll direct that all discovery be complete in 10 weeks. I'm not setting a deadline for motions, but what more information do you need?

Federal Defender Lenox: We want to see the vast majority of the discovery before deciding.

 Judge Liman: You'd wait on a good motion to suppress? I'm skeptical. At the next conference I'll set a schedule. Let me set that date, and entertain an application for the exclusion of time under the Speedy Trial Act. Let's have the protective order by next week

Judge Liman: Next conference March 19 at 2pm. At that conference I'll set a date for motion. Ms Sassoon, do you have a sense how long a trial will take?

A: We'd estimate 3 weeks.

Judge Liman: I do 4 days a week. I might start taking about a trial date on March 19.

 AUSA: We move to exclude time under the Speedy Trial Act. Judge Liman: Based on no objection and my own assessment, I exclude time.

AUSA Sassoon: Just for the record, I'm Ms Sassoon, I know it's confusing, we both have glasses. Judge: OK. About that medical order

 Federal Defender: Can you email them about medical care? Judge Liman: Do you need me to specify which time of medical attention he needs?
FD: No... He's diabetic and there are other medical issues not being adequately addressed.
FD: OK, just the diabetes for now. Judge Liman: Ms Keenan? AUSA Keenan: No objection. Judge Liman: OK, have a good afternoon."

  Judge Lewis J. Liman after Ray pled not guilty asked Assistant US Attorney Danielle Sassoon to summarize the discovery in the case. She mentioned electronic devices seized at Ray's New Jersey home. She said some belonged to victims and that Ray has made them shoot sexual explicit video on them - then seized them for purposes of extortion.

  Now some serious review and editing, and a protective order, would be required before the contents of the devises are released to Ray. Judge Liman set the next conference for February 26 at 3 pm. Inner City Press will be there. More on Patreon here.

 The charges are serious and again had some in the court, many apparently students, shaking their heads: "extortion, sex trafficking, and forced labor.  As alleged in the indictment, RAY used physical and psychological threats and coercion to indoctrinate and exploit a group of college students in Westchester County as well as other victims.  RAY extorted approximately $1 million from at least five victims; forced certain victims to perform unpaid labor; and caused, through force, fraud, and coercion, at least one victim to engage in commercial sex acts.  He laundered the proceeds of his crimes through an internet domain business.  RAY committed these offenses in locations including Westchester County, New York, and New York, New York, as well as Pinehurst, North Carolina."  

The case has been assigned to new SDNY Judge Lewis J. Liman; Inner City Press will follow it. It is US v. Ray, 20-cr-110 (Liman).


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