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In Honduras Cases Tigre Bonilla Gets Sept 18 Trial With CIPA Motion Coming, Consolidated

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 10 –  After the president of Honduras' brother Tony Hernandez was convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to life plus thirty years, on April 21, 2022 the ex-president himself, Juan Orlando Hernandez, was extradited to the United States.

[Espanol aqui]

  Inner City Press which covered the trials of Tony Hernandez and Giovanny Fuentes Ramirez immediately published the unsealed JOH indictment, which was returned on January 27, 2022 but left under seal.

On August 18, 2022 Tigre Bonilla whose financial affidavit Inner City Press got unsealed showing his claim to have no assets despite the narco trafficking alleged, was arraigned into the JOH case in Magistrates Court, which Inner City Press went to: "Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Barbara C. Moses: Plea entered by Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares (11) Count 1,2,3 -- Not Guilty."

Jump cut to January 10, 2023, with Bonilla appeared before Judge Castel - Inner City Press was there - and had a September 18 trial date set. Inner City Press live tweeted, thread here:

OK - now in #NarcosHonduras case, proceeding is US v. Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares (Tigre Bonilla)

Judge Castel: Any motions? Defense: No. Judge: So I'll set a trial date. I'll consolidate thos defendant with [Mauricio Hernandez Pineda] trial on Sept 18, 2023. AUSA: They were both with the Honduran National Police...

Bonilla is in a green Hudson County Correctional Facility jump suit, with 2 US Marshals behind him. He has on headphones, and an interpreter. AUSA: A CIPA Section 4 motion coming - we understand counsel is applying for authorization to see. Adjourned.

Note: Access to CIPA (Classified Information Procedures Act) information is, for JOH, being solved by bringing in new counsel...

Also, a related case was moving toward trial, on Salguero Morales and Ronald Enrique Salguero Portillo, with problems about a witness, Ardon Soriano. Inner City Press live tweeted a proceeding on August 17, 2022, here then filed to unseal the secret motions, response due August 22, docketed request here. Some of it:

"Dear Judge Castel:    On behalf of Inner City Press and in my personal capacity, this is near immediate request to unseal, in full or at least in part, the motions discussed this afternoon in open court in the above-captioned proceeding, which Inner City Press is covering.    Outgoing counsel for Mr. Ronald Enrique Salguero Portillo, it was said, submitted a motion on August 3, 2022 regarding alleged problems with the testimony of a witness, "Ardon Soriano." This was apparently followed up with a second motion submitted today, August 17, 2022.   But neither motion is contained in the docket on PACER, nor any request to file under seal. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees to the public a right of access to court proceedings. U.S. CONST. AMEND. I; Globe Newspaper Co. v. Superior Court, 457 U.S. 596, 603 (1982). The public’s right of access is strongest when it comes to criminal proceedings such as these, which are matters of the “high[est] concern and importance to the people.” Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia, 448 U.S. 555, 575 (1980) (plurality opinion).    This is a Press request that the filings be unsealed consistent with Lugosch v. Pyramid Co. of Onondaga, 435 F.3d 110 (2d Cir. 2006). Parties such as Inner City Press and myself have standing to intervene in criminal proceedings to assert the public’s right of access. United States v. Aref, 533 F.3d 72, 81 (2d Cir. 2008).      This is a request that this opposition to sealing be docketed as, for example, took place in US v. Bright, 19-cr-521 (PKC), and in this case, regarding Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares, on May 11, 2022,, after which Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker ruled: "The Financial Affidavit was filed under seal. On May 11, 2022, Matthew Russell Lee (“Lee”), a reporter with Inner City Press, filed a  letter intervening on behalf of the public and requesting that the Financial Affidavit be  unsealed.  I find that the Financial Affidavit should be unsealed."

The same should happen here.

On May 11, JUAN CARLOS BONILLA VALLADARES, or Tigre Bonilla, formerly of the Honduran National Police, was presented and Inner City Press live tweeted it here

On May 10, Juan Orlando Hernandez was brought into court to be arraigned. Inner City Press live tweeted it, thread here

Back on April 21, a lawyer filed a notice of appearance to represent JOH: Raymond L. Colon of 131 Pugsley Avenue in The Bronx, with 30 other cases over the years in SDNY.

On April 22 by video Colon represented JOH at his presentment. Inner City Press live tweeted here

 Previously, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres why he supported already-disgraced JOH in helping to steal his second election, by sending a four person panel with no read-out.

There has still been no answer from UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric - but Guterres' head of media access Melissa Fleming has banned Inner City Press, ongoing. 

On April 21 Inner City Press posted vlogs in English and Spanish, and streamed the DEA press statement from DC, here. We will cover JOH's presentment, arraignment and trial. 

The case is US v. Juan Orlando Hernandez, et al., 15-cr-379 (Castel). 


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