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In SDNY Prince Uko Is Bailed On Bank Fraud Charges Amid Coronavirus and GPS Bracelet Shortage

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
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SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 20 --   A defendant up from Georgia came at 2 pm on March 19 to be arraigned in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

 But in this time of Coronavirus, the usual 4:30 pm cut off for same day presentments has been pushed earlier, to noon. So this defendant, Prince Uko, returned to the SDNY on March 20. 

  The Magistrates Court remains on the 24th floor in a larger than normal courtroom to allow social distancing. In the lobby outside the courtroom, where Midtown Manhattan was not visible due to fog, folding chairs had been set up, each six feet from the other. But they were all empty. 

  In the courtroom, presided over by SDNY Chief Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein, Prince Uko had a publicly-funded Criminal Justice Act lawyer appointed, and pled not guilty. He is charged with bank fraud.  

 The Assistant US Attorney told  Judge Gorenstein a bail package, the same as in Georgia, had been agreed to. Judge Gorenstein asked her to spell it out, rejected some of the item as already being covered by law.

The AUSA mentioned "stand alone GPS monitoring" and Gorenstein said, Stop. He noted, as Inner City Press first reported this week, that there is a lack of GPS bracelet. The Pre Trial Services officer, sitting in the jury box, said there is a shipment on the way - but that Prince Uko already has a bracelet on.  

So how did he travel to New York from Georgia? The case is back on in front of assigned Judge Denise L. Cote on May 8, at least scheduled for now.

Due to Coronavirus - Judge Gorenstein notably was wearing gloves - she has allowed Prince Uko's co-defendants to get Provisionally Appointed Counsel without showing up in person.

 The case is US v. Uko, et al, 20-cr-179 (Cote / Gorenstein).


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