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In SDNY Bullock Charged With Child Sex Traffic Pleads Down To Travel Act In Near Empty Courtroom

By Matthew Russell Lee

SDNY COURT, August 14 – Christopher Bullock was indicted in 2018 for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors by force, fraud or coercion in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1594(c).

 On August 14 he pled guilty to a the lesser charge of conspiracy to violate the "Travel Act," with reference to a sentence of 60 months, before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Jesse M. Furman.

 Inner City Press, the only media in Judge Furman's courtroom, couldn't help wonder how this pleading down related to criticism of the abruptly ended or change Jeffrey Epstein child sex trafficking case. A review of Bullock's motion to suppress, which Judge Furman denied, makes it appear that Bullock housed the minors who were being prostituted, was accused of making them sell drugs for him.

 Even the venue was dubious, or at least interesting. Bullock answered that none of the acts took place in the Southern District, including the Bronx, Westchester and Manhattan.

  Then the Assistant US Attorney said since he used the phone and Internet, THAT goes through the Southern District. He added that one of the sex acts took place in Manhattan.  That apparently was enough - though at the end of the proceeding he added that minors had been recruited in Westchester. Judge Furman indicated, or seemed to, that the Manhattan sex act was enough. Inner City Press will continue to follow this and other SDNY cases. Watch this site.

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.


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