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In SDNY Mixed Verdict in Sex Trafficking Case After Jury Charge Closed Amid Epstein

By Matthew Russell Lee, thread

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 15 – In a child sex trafficking trial taking place alongside the case of Jeffrey Epstein before Judge Victor Marrero in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York but which strikingly less media interest, Lloyd Kidd was tried for trafficking for sex victims he claims not to have known were under-aged.

  On its second day of deliberations, and after a two hours after a detailed question about defendant Kidd's mens rea, the jury returned a verdict We just found out the jury already reached a mixed verdict. Kidd was convicted on counts 1a (sex trafficking of a minor victim) and 5 (use of a minor to produce child pornography). He was acquitted on counts 1b/2 (sex trafficking of a minor victim) and 3/4 (sex trafficking of an adult victim).  

  Inner City Press ran back to the courtroom but found it locked. In the SDNY lobby the prosecution team was rolling out with its shopping carts of exhibits - which were never put online, or even shown on the monitors for the press and public gallery. Kidd was taken back into the cell block by the Marshals. When Inner City Press learns the sentencing date it will report it.

  Earlier on July 15 less than two hours before the verdict, in response to a note from the jury, Judge Marrero convened the lawyers in the case to decide on how to instruct the jury on whether Kidd had a "reasonable opportunity" to know the victim's age.

  Kidd's lawyer Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma opposed Judge Marrero's proposal to read to the jury from a Second Circuit decision, saying it could be confusing to a layperson. He also opposed Judge Marrero's decision to tell the jury that the required reasonable opportunity "includes but is not limited to face to face interaction," taking the position that it is limited to that, i.e. that face to face interaction is required.

  Judge Marrero disagreed. He summoned the jury in and read them the "including but not limited to" language, then asked them to send out another note as to how long they would deliberate on July 15, if they did not reach a verdict. The case is USA v. Kidd, 18-cr-00872 (Marrero).

 On July 12 on Judge Marrero's courthouse door was this sign: "JUDGE CHARGING JURY: NO Admittance."

   Inner City Press, which had been covering the case all week 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 us?" one of the jurors asked. They decided on 9:30 am.

 Back 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 Marrero, with a warrant executed the next day.

  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. 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."

  Meanwhile while child sex trafficking defendent Jeffrey Epstein awaits SDNY Judge Berman's bond decision on July 18 (Inner City Press live-tweeted thread here, story here), 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.

  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 18, based from a PACER terminal, documenting the disparities and covering that other six trafficking case. Watch this site.


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