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In SDNY Openings US Cites Tekashi 6ix9ine While Defense Calls Him A Hoax Like Jussie Smollett

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon, Thread

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Sept 16 – Now for the trial of Aljermiah Mack and Anthony Ellison for allegedly kidnapping Daniel Hernandez / Tekashi 6ix9ine has begun. Thread here. On September 16 the 16 jurors were picked. (We saw but will not name them). Then the government and the two defendants' lawyers made their opening arguments. More on Patreon here.

   Assistant US Attorney Jonathan Rebold said Nine Trey is guilty of armed robberies, assaults. He said, in coming days you'll learn a lot about slang and internal conflicts. Then he brought up Daniel Hernandez and his "stage name Tekashi #6ix9ine." He said Ellison kidnapping Hernandez then slashed someone else's face open.

  As to Mack, AUSA Rebold linked him to drugs including Ecstasy, said Mack tried to have a top Nine Trey leader murdered. He said this will be proved with testimony of police officers, and of the doctor who treated Hernandez. He mentioned videos but not Billy, see below.

  He said cell phone tower records show where Ellison was, and that wiretaps have Mack talking of drug dealing. "Finally you'll hear testimony from Hernandez, Hernandez's driver and others.. They are criminals. They have committed serious crimes."

  Then Mack's lawyer Alex Huot said, "this case is about trying to establish guilty by association. This case is about labeling - 'Nine Trey!' - as evidence of conspiracy. He said, let's talk about college fraternities -- leading at least Inner City Press to wonder, would  he reference #VarsityBlues? He did not, at least not directly. He said, if members of the fraternity, at another school, go off and do something wrong, everyone is not held responsible. Then, "there are 50 states in the US. New Yorkers are not responsible for what Iowans do... What happens in Iowa says in Iowa. [Echoes of Bill De Blasio?]

  Huot said, you'll hear as first witness Daniel Hernandez "self described King of New York" who picked fights on social media. [A Trump echo?] He said, what Hernandez will say about Mack is hearsay. "#6ix9ine does not heed these words."  

  Ellison's lawyer Deveraux Cannick said: the kidnapping of Daniel Hernandez is a hoax, a Jussie Smollett if you will.

 The jurors were let go, to return to Courtroom 318 in 40 Foley Square at 9:30 am, the lawyers at 9. Herandez / 6ix9ine is expected mid morning. Inner City Press will live tweet it - watch this site. For now, more on Patreon here.

  In the run up to the trial of Aljermiah Mack and Anthony Ellison, on September 10 questions such as whether the jurors should as they deliberate get access to transcripts (yes) and if a bigger courtroom is needed for Daniel Hernandez, natch, were debated.

  U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Paul Engelmayer, who worked late the day before on an immigration habeus corpus argument, here, said he would prefer to keep the trial in his own courtroom on the 13th floor of 40 Foley Square. But defense counsel complained they are too cramped; each defendant will have ten to fifteen friends and family members coming each day.

  The defense wanted to keep from the jurors while they deliberate the transcripts of the calls they will hear. Judge Engelmayer did not agree to this, leading at least those observer to wonder if the defense erred in agreeing that the transcripts are accurate.

  In the recent conviction of Ernest Murphy for crack conspiracy in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn before Circuit Judge Richard J. Sullivan, the defense only stipulated to the accuracy of the date and time of calls. Here, the defense gave it all away. One wonders if jurors would have a harder time using these calls to convict if they did not have the transcripts.

  Judge Engelmayer inquired into Instagram handles and how they will be used on the summary charts now so common in SDNY criminal trials. Some questions, he left for the trial itself. Will it be in ceremonial courtroom 318, which used to house arraignments and everything else? Or in Courtroom 110, where UN briber Ng Lap Seng was convicted?

  For now what is known is that not only when Daniel Hernandez / Tekashi 6ix9ine testifies under his cooperation deal, but also for the selection of jurors, a larger courtroom will be used. Judge Engelmayer to his credit proposed to the lawyers allowing media access to the jury selection sidebar discussions. But why not all sidebars throughout the trial? Inner City Press and @SDNYLIVE will have more on this. For now, more on Patreon here.

Back on September 6 Kafano Jordan was up for sentencing on September 6 on two firearms counts he pled guilty to, and the courtroom was more full than usual for proceedings. The rap connection of one co-defendant Daniel Hernandez explained some of the attendees. More on Patreon here. But there were family members too. Inner City Press rode the elevator up with Kifano Jordan's uncle, who said he was very worried.

 The mandatory minimum sentence was 15 years, and that is what Judge Engelmayer ultimately gave. In doing so he ran through Kifano Jordan's year of gun play, and more obscure state crimes before them. Defense lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman said, "People don't hire me to plead guilty, they hire me to go to trial." (Full disclosure: Lichtman gave Inner City Press an update earlier in the day, as it got off the delayed subway, on his OneCoin crypto-currency case.)

 More on Patreon here.

 Kifano Jordan came from Trinidad; Lichtman said his father essential abandoned him and he joined a gang, Nine Trey, in order to fit in. When he gets out in 15 years, Probation can search his computer and phone, if those technologies are still in use; he would face a 25 year mandatory minimum if he used a gun again for a crime.

  Judge Engelmayer, who starts the related trial of remaining defendants later this month, recounted how he has overseen Bronx gangs cases with 76 and 26 defendants; he spoke of the need for general deterrence. This particular sentence will get multiply-covered. But most in the SDNY do not. Watch this site.

Tekashi 6ix9ine's video "Billy" was deemed partially admissible as trial evidence against his Nine Trey Bloods gang co-defendants on September 4 by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.

   After citing a Federal Rule of Evidence about statements of a co-conspirator, Judge Engelmayer said he would exclude portions of the video showing "extreme misogyny." He chided the US Attorney's Office for not having addressed the issue and urged them to do better in future evidentiary arguments. Then Engelmayer declared a comfort break.

  Here is the videoInner City Press will have more on this.

Faheem Walter while awaiting sentencing in the Metropolitan Correctional Center used a contraband smart phone to live-stream on Instagram Live, here. This came up at his August 14 sentencing in the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods case best known for the involvement of rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine a/k/a Daniel Hernandez. Walter's lawyer said he wishes he'd never met Hernandez. More on Patreon, here.

  Judge Engelmayer wrote off the video as a statement of "I'm still standing," not any walk-by from the acceptance of responsibilities for which he lowered Walter's sentencing guideline to 68 to 74 months. He showed some mild surprise that the phone got in to the MCC for live-streaming.

  But will there be any follow up? There wasn't when Inner City Press on July 31 exclusively reported that Jeffrey Epstein was being allowed to dominate, all day every day, one of only two legal meeting rooms in the MCC's Special Housing Unit, just by having the money to have one lawyer after another come in and sit with him.

  Judge Engelmayer, after sitting revising his sentence in front of a quiet, half filled courtroom, looked up and read highlights from letter submitted by Walter's family members, asking in each case if the author was in the courtroom. Then after crediting Walter for not using the gun he carried, and for the colostomy bag he had has to use since himself being shot, Engelmayer imposed a below guidelines sentence of 62 months. This drew applause.

 Mack's lawyer Louis Fasulo said his client is eager for a speedy resolution; he will begin reviewing discovery immediately. The government seized two of Mack's phones when he was arrested on June 6; they are seeking search warrants for those and his Instagram account. The whole proceeding had the feeling of a very genteel push to plead guilty. We'll have more on this

Back on May 9 when Lovick, also known as Fu Banga, offered his own description of what he did on April 21, 2018 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Judge Engelmayer did not accept it. 

Lovick said that outside the door of a boxer, a group ran at him; he drew a gun and fired it into the air to make them step back.   

Judge Engelmayer said this allocution wouldn't do, with its implication of self defense and failure to mention the Nine Trey Gangsta Blood organization. He urged Lovick, still in chains, to spend ten minutes with his defense lawyer Jeffrey G. Pittell to discuss a prepared allocation which would jibe with counts six and seven of the superseding indictment to which he was ostensibly pleading guilty.   

Pittell, with whom Inner City Press spoke just outside the courtroom, had previously filed a motion to suppress and to dismiss. He had an interesting argument that the New York State crime of menacing - trying to cause the fear of bodily harm - would not fit even the superseding lesser included charge to which Lovick was pleading guilty. Pittell told Inner City Press this is an issue of first impression.   

But as Judge Engelmayer put it when after two breaks he accepted Lovick's guilty plea, lawyers can always make arguments but it was his view that there was no real claim of self-defense in this case. Pittell referred to a video of the incident but Judge Engelmayer said he had not seen it. Venue was also questioned; that too was smoothed over.

As more and more of the initial defendants in the overall USA v. Jones / Tekashi 6ix 9ine case plead guilty, to some the remaining question is the pleading-out of the defendant(s) who are NOT affiliated with the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods. Inner City Press will continue to cover this case. For now, a bit more on Patreon, here.

Photo of
                        SDNY courthouse, Worth St entrance, (c) Inner
                        City Press

For more on this case, including the April 30, 2019 multiple defendant discovery conference before Judge Engelmayer, click here.


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