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Second Circuit Shoots Down Appeal of EDNY Wire Fraud Convict Greebel on Precluded Expert

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 30 – After being convicted of wire fraud in a jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York back on August 24, 2018, Evan Greebel appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

  Now on October 30 his appeal was shot down in a summary order by a three judge panel of Rosemary S. Pooler, Joseph F. Bianco and Jennifer Choe-Groves, United States Court of International Trade, sitting by designation.

  They say in part that "Greebel appeals from the August 24, 2018 judgment of conviction for violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1349 (conspiracy to commit wire fraud) and 18 U.S.C. § 371 (conspiracy to commit securities fraud) following a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Matsumoto, J.). He challenges his conviction on the grounds that the district court erred in its jury instructions on an attorney’s duty of disclosure; that it erred by failing to identify the defendant’s client in the jury instructions; that it erred by omitting language in the instruction on market manipulation; and that it abused its discretion in precluding an expert’s opinion."

 The arguments were made by Kannon K. Shanmugam, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton &  Garrison LLP and John S. Williams, Michael J. Mestitz, Meng Jia Yang, Williams &  Connolly LLP, Washington, D.C. (on the brief).

"Greebel argues that the district court abused its discretion in precluding the expert opinion of Stephen Ferruolo. A district court has “broad discretion to carry out [its] gatekeeping function” as to expert testimony, which involves ensuring that the proffered testimony “is relevant to the task at hand.” In re Pfizer Inc. Sec. Litig., 819 F.3d 642, 658 (2d Cir. 2016) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Moreover, expert testimony is inadmissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 702 if it “usurp[s] . . . the role of the jury in applying th[e] law to the facts before it,” as such testimony “undertakes to tell the jury what result to reach, and thus attempts to substitute the expert’s judgment for the jury’s.” Nimely v. City of New York, 414 F.3d 381, 397 (2d Cir. 2005) (first alteration in original) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). We conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in precluding the expert opinion."

  Similar issues are afoot in the OneCoin / US v. Scott trial set to begin November 4, which Inner City Press has been making arrangement to live-tweet. Watch this site.

Previously in the Second Circuit: Vivian Wang, who as money manager for convicted UN briber Ng Lap Seng's South South News made payments to disgraced President of the UN General Assembly John Ashe, was given a time served sentence on June 26 by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge George B. Daniels.

On August 9, Ng Lap Seng's long shot appeal of his conviction was shot down by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. From the majority decision, this: "Insofar as the district court nevertheless charged an 'official act' quid pro quo for the § 666 crimes, that error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt because the jury, having found Ng guilty under the higher McDonnell official act standard, would certainly have found him guilty under a proper instruction omitting that unnecessary standard." That was District Judge Broderick, whose low ceiling-ed courtroom Inner City Press now covers nearly daily, both because banned from the UN for uncovering its corruption and more and more interested in the workings of his Federal court.

 And here, in full, is the concurring decision of Circuit Judge Richard J. Sullivan, who is also still overseeing criminal cases and even a trial, by designation: "18-1725-cr United States v. Ng Lap Seng SULLIVAN, Circuit Judge, concurring: I fully agree with the majority that the official acts requirement set forth in McDonnell v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2355 (2016), does not apply to 18 U.S.C. § 666 or the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd‐2, 78dd‐3.  I likewise agree that the district court erred by giving (what turned out to be) an unnecessary McDonnell instruction.  However, that error is clearly harmless, for the reasons set forth in the majority opinion. Having reached this conclusion, I see no need to engage in an alternative holding that essentially hypothesizes what we would have concluded in the event that McDonnell did apply to § 666.  To my mind, this analysis obscures what is otherwise a clear holding, and since “[i]t has long been [the] considered practice [of Article III courts] not to decide abstract, hypothetical or contingent questions,” Ala. State Fed’n of Labor, Local Union No. 103, United Bhd. of Carpenters & Joiners of Am. v. McAdory, 325 U.S. 450, 461 (1945), I see no reason to engage in an unnecessary and purely academic McDonnell analysis. Accordingly, I decline to join in the majority’s alternative McDonnell holding.  In all other respects, I wholly concur in the majority’s excellent opinion." We'll have more on all this.

   Back in June, Wang's lawyers at Goodwin Proctor, in a heavily redacted sentencing submission, stated that her deceased husband Forest Cao "was 57 years old adn had no known health problems of medical conditions. No autopsy was performed."

 It also says, as to UN President of the General Assembly John Ashe, that while awaiting trial on UN bribery charges "his death was reported as the result of a 'weightlifting accident' after a barbell apparently crushed his throat."

  After the sentencing, Inner City Press with covered the Ng Lap Seng trial before SDNY Judge Vernon Broderick daily asked Wang's lawyer Derek A. Cohen if he was implying that Forest Cao and John Ashe were killed, and why he had so heavily redacted this sentencing submission.

 "It speaks for itself," Cohen said by the elevators. Likewise the Assistant U.S. Attorney on the case Daniel C. Richenthal declined Inner City Press' question about who beyond Ng Lap Seng Ms. Wang had cooperated against.

 Judge Daniels did not preside over the trial of Ng Lap Seng. He accepted the government's recommendation of time served with very little inquiry.

  He said as if by rote that corruption of the UN is a serious matter. But if so, why should a person who paid bribes in the UN get such a light sentence with little public showing of the benefit of their cooperation?

   Corruption has continued at the UN since the prosecution of Ng Lap Seng, resulting in his four year prison sentence. A second, separately prosecution was brought against Patrick Ho of CEFC China Energy, an entity which also tried to buy the oil company of Lisbon-based Gulbenkian Foundation which employed current UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as a compensated board member.

  Neither in the Ho nor Ng Lap Seng cases where any of the UN Secretariat officials implicated in the bribery schemes prosecuted.

  This laxity can be contrasted with another SDNY proceeding a mere hour later, in which Judge P. Kevin Castel looked behind the U.S. Attorney's Office's 5k1.1 cooperation letters and imposed jail time on the four siblings, the Seggermans, who evaded taxes. That underlying case was USA v. Little, 12-cr-647 (Castel). This bifurcated case is USA v. Wang, 16-cr-495 (Daniels).

 Vivi Wang helped bribe the UN, and on June 26 she got a time served sentence for undefined cooperation. Judge Castel looked behind the government's 5K1.1 letter but Judge Daniels did not. And the UN continues corrupt. Inner City Press will have more, much more, on this.


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