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Dr Cruciani For Sex Abuse Got Bail Inner City Press Prevailed on Unsealing Now Schedule

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, April 19 – A former pain management doctor who has been indicted for sexually abusing female patients in three states for fifteen years was offered bail conditions to be released on the evening of October 20, 2021. Inner City Press was there, and again on October 21 when he was arraigned in a yellow prison jumpsuit.

  Since then, Cruciani then his Federal Defenders have repeatedly sought to keep sealed his financial filings to get publicly funded representation. Inner City Press filed two letters seeking to unseal, on January 10 and February 2, see below. In a February 15 hearing Judge John P. Cronan cited them and said they will be docketed, along with the transcript of his ruling: the financial information should be unsealed. But he gave the US and Federal Defenders four weeks to confer on redactions.

 On March 15 Federal Defender Daniel Habib submitted into the docket a letter, but not any of the affidavit. In the letter, he implies the government has agreed that "collateral" information should be withheld, and payees including investigators.

On April 4, this: "ORDER as to Ricardo Cruciani: It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant's request to file the Financial Affidavits with the proposed redactions is granted. The Court will stay any public unsealing of the Financial Affidavits pending the decision on Defendant's appeal. Within one week of the decision on Defendant's appeal, Defendant shall file a letter advising the Court as to the outcome of the appeal and, if appropriate based on the outcome of the appeal, file the redacted Financial Affidavits on the docket. (Signed by Judge John P. Cronan on 4/4/2022)." We will have more on this - watch this site.  

  This is the third such decision on Inner City Press' filings, in US v. Avenatti and US v. Correia (in both cases Inner City Press unsealing requested were more quickly filed, something we will also seek to address.)

On April 19, 2022 a trial date for Cruciani was set - in 2023: "Defendant's moving brief is due by September 30, 2022; the Government's opposition is due by October 14, 2022; Defendant's reply, if any, is due by October 21, 2022. The parties shall appear for any evidentiary hearing and an oral argument on Defendant's motion on December 1, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 12D of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007. If Defendant does not file a motion, the parties shall appear at that date and time for a status conference. The Court also set a trial commencement date in this case for January 23, 2023. The Government shall provide Defendant with notice of any evidence it seeks to admit at trial under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) by December 5, 2022. By December 12, 2022, the parties shall submit proposed voir dire, requests to charge, and verdict forms. Any motions in limine also shall be filed by December 12, 2022, with oppositions to those motions due by December 19, 2022. The Court also directs the parties to Part 7 of its Individual Rules and Practices in Criminal Cases for further requirements as to the submission of pretrial materials, exhibit lists, exhibits, and materials pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3500. The Court will hold a Final Pretrial Conference on January 17, 2023, at 10:00 a.m." Will the unsealed financial document actually be available by then?

Mid-day on October 20, 2021 it was announced that "Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that RICARDO CRUCIANI was arrested this morning and charged in connection with his sexual abuse of numerous pain management patients over the course of over 15 years.  The Indictment unsealed today alleges that from at least in or about 2002 up to and including at least in or about 2017, CRUCIANI enticed and induced multiple victims to travel to his medical offices in New York, New York, Hopewell, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to subject them to unlawful sexual abuse.  CRUCIANI was arrested this morning and is expected to be presented later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger in Manhattan federal court."  

  After a case in which Magistrate Judge Lehrburger granted the US Attorney's Office's request to detain in the MDC jail in Brooklyn until trial an asthmatic man from Burkina Faso, employed in food delivery, for enticing two 14-year old girls to have sex, Cruciani was brought in.  

Cruciani wore a sweater and blew a kiss to a woman in the gallery, where Inner City Press was the only media.

The Assistant US Attorney said that with Cruciani's retained (self-paid) lawyer a bail package had been agreed to: a $2 million personal recognisance bond signed by three financially responsible people and secured by properties in Winwood, Pennsylvania and Jersey City, New Jersey. Cruciani worked at Mount Sinai. There is a petition online here.

  On October 21 the assigned District Judge, John P. Cronan, held Cruciani's arraignment. Inner City Press live tweeted it here.

On the afternoon of January 10, this: "ORDER as to Ricardo Cruciani. As ordered by the Court on December 2, 2021, Dkt. 20, Defendant submitted his financial affidavit to the Court on January 6, 2022. Defendant's financial affidavit was accompanied by a cover letter in which Defendant requested that he be permitted to file both his affidavit and the cover letter under seal and ex parte."

In less than an hour, Inner City Press filed opposition to sealing, cc-ing Cruciani's lawyers and specifically noting upon Inner City Press' application, Michael Avenatti's financial affidavit was nearly entirely released, revealed links to PPP loans.

  But on January 18 when Cruciani's lawyers put in another argument to keep his info sealed, while they cited the Avenatti decision they did not mention much less address the argument by Inner City Press, whose filing was docketed and granted in the Avenatti case. The issue of public access to an indict sex abusers filings is not only between the alleged abuser and the US Attorney's office - the public and press should be heard (and docketed).

  It didn't happen on January 19. Instead, this order: "Attorney Appointment Hearing as to Ricardo Cruciani held on 1/19/2022. AUSA Jane Kim present. Defendant present, with his attorneys Frederick Sosinsky, Elizabeth Macedonio, and Mark Furman. Frederick Sosinsky, Elizabeth Macedonio, and Mark Furman were relieved as counsel and Mark Gombiner was appointed counsel pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act for Defendant. Defendant to make any further submissions on whether his financial affidavit should remain sealed and ex parte by February 2, 2022, and the Government shall file any response by February 9, 2022. The status conference scheduled for January 21, 2022 is adjourned to April 19, 2022 at 9:30 a.m."

So Cruciani now has a publicly paid Federal Defender, the same office that did not succeed in the face of Inner City Press' filing in keeping Michael Avenatti's financial affidavit sealed. Why is Cruciani's sealed?  What will happen here, with Judge Cronan? As of February 9 to this, still nothing - only, another protective order, by Cruciani's now free (to him) Federal Defender.

On February 9, the US Attorney's Office put in its filing, citing Judge Oetken's release of David Correia's financial affidavit - which was requested by Inner City Press in a filing that Judge Oetken correctly docketed (19-cr-725, Dkt. No. 126) as should happen here.

On February 10, with the Press request still not docketed or responded to, Judge Cronan ordered "ORDER as to Ricardo Cruciani: During the January 19, 2022 hearing held on Defendant's application for appointment of counsel, the Court directed Defendant to make any further submissions on whether his financial affidavit should remain sealed and ex parte by February 2, 2022 and the Government to file any response by February 9, 2022. The Court has reviewed the parties' supplemental submissions. Dkts. 27, 34. Accordingly, it is hereby ordered that the parties shall appear in person for a conference on February 15, 2022 to discuss Defendant's application to file his financial affidavit under seal and ex parte." With no call-in line listed. Watch this site.

  Inner City Press will stay on these cases. The disparity with the Burkinabe food deliveryman was not explained. (To be fair, the SDNY is generally open, see for example orders by Judges Jed S. Rakoff here and Jesse M. Furman on Avenatti, here).

This case is US v. Cruciani, 21-cr-636 (Cronan) 



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