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In SDNY Gonzalez Pled To Crack But Not Gang As AUSA Says Deal With That At Sentencing

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
Honduras - The Source - The Root - etc

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 19 –  Defendant after co-defendant on December 5, 2019 charged with drugs and guns under the same just-unsealed indictment were presented and either detained or offered conditional of bail in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrates Court before Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses.

 Inner City Press, the only media in the Magistrates Court for these, has covered the case since.

 On December 5, 2019 there was Michael Gonzalez, a/k/a Wisdom, who cited his union job at 36 Madison Avenue and a case of mistaken identity with a Miguel in Rye, New York. SDNY Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses said the presumption against him was not rebutted. He was detained.

   Now on January 19, 2020, Michael Gonzalez came to plead guilty before Judge Caproni. Inner City Press covered it.

  Gonzalez disputed that his crack with in connection with the underlying gang. The AUSA said that will be an issue at sentencing. Judge Caproni said there could be a hearing on that. There was discussion of holding these proceedings by video, and of the in person trial held before Judge P. Kevin Castel in October, which Inner City Press also covered.

 Judge Caproni said that the Court's epidemiologist opines that the new strain of COVID may require more spacing in the re-configured courtrooms. The plea was accepted; the sentencing is set for May.

 This case is US v. Velez, et al., 19-cr-862 (Caproni).

  Earlier in the case: on December 10, 2019 a defendant offered conditions of release by Magistrate Judge Moses was ordered detained by District Judge Valerie E. Caproni. Luis Sepulveda was said to work for Sewer Heroes in Westchester County, the boss of which came to Judge Caproni's temporary courtroom 15C on December 10.

  The government emphasized his role in slashings. Judge Caproni first asked how his role was possible, given his work hours. Later she said if released, he could be at a sewer job but speaking with "Tony Pots and Pans" and planning crimes. She ordered him detained, with the proviso that if information comes out in discovery a new application can always be made.

  Christopher Lum, also seeming to have been released, was still detained, his parents in the jam packed gallery of Courtroom 15C. Four defendants, including the lead defendant Carmelo Velez represented by Federal Defender Philip Weinstein, asked to be sent to the MCC and MDC, said to have no space, from Valhalla.

  For all defendants, but for the two still at large, are set for a status conference on May 14, with objections due to groupings of eight for purposes of trial due before then. Inner City Press will continue to follow this case.

 Back on December 6 Hector Bonaparte was presented a day after co-defendants. It's that he couldn't be found because he lives in a homeless shelter. This was used against him. Because no electronic monitors could be anchored to a home, his lawyer was advised to withdraw his oral application for release on bond. The lawyer did. So in any statistics, this will show up as "detained on consent." But his lawyer was seeking bail, and the argument had started. Inner City Press will remain on this.

Judge Moses said she did not credit the prosecutions proffer of gang membership, so neither will Inner City Press in this report. We'll call it a Group.  

There was Christopher Lum, described as the Group's bookkeeper in Queens. The Assistant US Attorney's called him a risk of flight to Korea because he was born there. But he hasn't been there since he was six months old. He was offered release on bond, to be secured by his equity interest in an apartment he leaves empty in Queens (Judge Moses called it a wasting asset). #Bailed.  

There was Luis Sepulveda a/k/a Red, with red hair, described by the government as the second crown overall. He was offered bail, but on delay so the US Attorneys can appeal the decision to the Part I judge if they choose. #Bailed, on delay.  

Next came three co-defendants who all consented to detention: Christopher Nelson a/k/a Hype, Josiah Velasquez a/k/a Siah and Christopher Rodriguez a/k/a Taz. It seems they were lumped together for presentment because they would consent to detention, pending the next appearance on December 10.

  As the final Mag Court cases of the day, there was Emmanuel Bonafe a/k/a Eazy and lead defendant Carmelo Velez, a/k/a Jugg. Both were ordered detained by Judge Moses. The lead defendant got the Federal Defender, which seems to be a trend. Inner City Press will have more on this.

This case is US v. Velez et al., 19-cr-862 (Caproni). 


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