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In SDNY Sex Trafficking Jury Starts Weekend With 2 Notes After Press Barred While Judge Marrero Charged Them

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 12 – In a child sex trafficking trial there was a signs on the courtoom door barring the Press on July 12: "JUDGE CHARGING JURY: NO Admittance." The sign had the name of the Clerk of the
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

  Inner City Press, which alone has been covering the case all week - and will into next, as the jury was released at 5 pm on Friday for the weekend after sending two notes, below -- asked the Court Security Officer who was not responsible for the sign but replied, That is how it is.

After some telephone calls, belatedly the door was unlocked and Inner City Press was allowed to sit in the back. But what explained the locking up of a presumptively open criminal jury trial? This has not been answered; nor has the unilaterally sealing and ouster of the Press from two recent criminal sentencings in the SDNY.

  At 5 pm on Friday July 12, Judge Marrero softly read out two notes received from the jury: a request for the testimony of the person Inner City Press will continue to call Victim-1, and for clarification about how "knowingly" applied to advertising. (Before the jury and judge came in there had been some discussion of the standards for harboring and promoting.)

  Judge Marrero, who was cited as an excuse by another Assistant US Attorney to SDNY Judge Sidney Stein at 4:10 pm, told the jury to decide when to continue on Monday. "It's up to up?" one asked. They decided on 9:30 am. Inner City Press will be there - if not locked out again. Watch this site.

Alongside the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking charges and attendants media interest there is a sex trafficking trial taking place with no media present other than Inner City Press in the same
SDNY. On July 9 an FBI agent was questioned and then cross-examined about finding a jar of condoms, bras and panties and victims in the defendant's apartment, which police and agents entered in a stack on December 12, 2018. That came a day after a sealed indictment on December 11, wheeled out to Judge Victor Marrero, with a warrant executed the next day.

 Now seven months later Lloyd Kidd a/k/a Chris Kidd is on trial. His attorney Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma has argued to Judge Marrero that the government violated the Fourth Amendment, to no avail.

  By July 11 Judge Marrero was taking final comments on his jury charge. The government wanted the instructions to note that the Backpage summaries had been admitted into evidence. The defense lawyer was distracted, telling his client Kidd he had to let him concentrate. Kidd then directed his ire to another at the defense table. Perhaps he seems things coming to a bad end. But the U.S. Attorney's Office has yet to make public a single one of the exhibits, and the video monitor for the press and public in the gallery remained dark on July 11.

 It was on July 12 that Inner City Press was barred from much of Judge Marrero's jury charge. Once in, Judge Marrero read through the elements including the names of some of the victims. He said that the tradition in this District is the Juror Number 1, whom he named, will be the foreperson.

Judge Marrero thanked and instructed the two alternate jurors, whom he named, to leave - without telling them to still comply with the usual rules, and that they might have to come back. Does he know something? Inner City Press in order to not be locked out again stayed in for the next proceeding, in which 27% of a settlement going to attorneys fees was approved. We'll have more on all this: watch this site.

 On July 10 a slew of government exhibits were introduced, but again none shown on the monitor for the press and public gallery. The microphone of Witness Ms. Brown cut in and out. But when the defense object to the exhibits as cumulative and prejudicial -- was cited -- and a sidebar was called, the white noise to block it out worked just fine. When it was over, the exhibits were admitted without objection. But what are they? Where are they? Inner City Press has asked.

Meanwhile Assistant US Attorneys Mollie Bracewell, Elinor Tarlow and Jacob Gutwillig complained to Judge Marrero that victims / witnesses have been intimidated in telephone calls to numbers the government provided to the defense on July 5 designated as "confidential, attorneys eyes only."

  Inner City Press went to see the trial on July 9 - after being unceremoniously told to leave another criminal proceeding - and found most government objections to the cross examination of the FBI agent being sustained. The video monitor meant for the press and public was not showing any of the exhibits. We'll have more on this. The case is US v. Kidd, 18-cr-872 (VM).

  That Jeffrey Epstein, now in the Metropolitan Correctional Center by Foley Square, will be denied bail later this week is widely reported. But as Inner City Press has reported from the SDNY Magistrates Court this year, at least two accused pedofiles have been released on bond, with conditions.

One, Donnie Fetters, was bailed by Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang on May 10 and allowed to fly back to Iowa from whence he came to Laguardia to meet an underage girl, or what he thought was an underage girl. See the Inner City Press, the only media that day in the Magistrate Court, story here. Fetters remains free; most recently his appearance before SDNY Judge Victor Marrero was waived. This case is now US v. Fetters, 19-cr-387 (VM).

On May 30 SDNY Magistrate Judge James L. Cott granted bond to Bryan Pivnick, accused of grooming an 11 year old boy, see Inner City Press story here: now Pivnick is asking for greater access to the Internet in New Jersey, ostensibly to pay his student loans. This case is now US v. Pivnick, 19-cr-00464 (PKC). More on Patreon, here.

  The rights or lack of rights of victims have been highlighted for some in this case - but the violation of rights of less prominent people has been happening every day, from before March until now in the SDNY including its murky Magistrates Court. Inner City Press was in the 2d Circuit in March and will be in the SDNY July 8, based from a PACER terminal, documenting the disparities. Watch this site.

The Qatar ruling family's abuse of employees and laws was exposed in an off the record initial conference at in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on February 14; Inner City Press was the only media present.

Inner City Press wrote an exclusive story that day, February 14, then more in the following few days as more sources contacted us. Now it has learned that the UK's Daily Mail days later on February 21 false claimed an exclusive on the story, here.

On June 1 Inner City Press reported that the Qatari royals' lawyers were on the cusp of succeeding in burying the case in mediation by JAMS. A low-ball settlement - except for attorneys fees -- was submitted to SDNY Judge J. Paul Oetken on June 1. The total is $150,000, fully half being attorneys' fees; it is signed by the royals without any admission.

 On June 10, this: "ORDER: The proposed settlement at Docket Number 36-1 is approved, and the case is hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. The Court shall retain jurisdiction solely to resolve any disputes arising from the settlement agreement and the settlement of this action. The Clerk of Court is directed to close the case. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge J. Paul Oetken on 6/10/2019) (jca)."  So the issue of human trafficking has been buried, for money, in the SDNY.


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