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For Wire Fraud G Herbo Pleads Not Guilty Can Travel to Georgia But Not Talk Case Fiancee NJ

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

FEDERAL COURT, Dec 9 – Herbert Wright a/k/a rapper G Herbo and five others have been indicted on charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

G Herbo was arraigned on December 9, with the Assistant US Attorney seeking additional restrictions on his travel and clarifications about no guns, and no marijuana or lean. Inner City Press live tweeted the proceeding, here:
and later uploaded the discussed Rule 5(c)(3) documents on Patreon here

G Herbo's lawyer Lawson says his client wants to visit his fiancee, so wants permission to travel to New Jersey, through New York. AUSA Breslow says: Travel only to visit fiancee "and their child ultimately"; anything else requires permission of Probation.

Judge: Isn't he permitted to travel to Georgia? To visit a child? [Inner City Press notes: Chicago based banker Calk, who lent to Manafort, was allowed to travel nationwide. Coverage here.

Judge Robertson: I understand Mr. Wright is a singer.. He may not be performing at this time due to the conditions, but we can deal with it down the road.

 AUSA Breslow: Mr. Wright shouldn't speak to witnesses. And the woman in Georgia, where he has a child, is one. He can speak with her about the child, but not the case. Her initials are A.S.

AUSA Breslow: The papers say Mr. Wright makes $1 million a year. The loss amount is $1.5 million. The bond amount is very low. So I do want to inform the court I want to have the opportunity to return about that requirement, with info from the case agent

 Judge: From the paperwork, there is an unsecured bond in the amount of $50,000. [G Herbo is sitting at a camera in California with window behind him, can't really see his reactions to these statements by AUSA. Pretty calm, it seems. Now the lighting has changed

 AUSA Brewlow: This concerns marijuana use. The California bond says don't possess even medical marijuana. But the pre-trial services report says he has a history of marijuana use, and Lean (definite it: codeine and soda) and has medical marijuana card...

 AUSA Breslow: I want the court to be clear with Mr. Wright he's not permitted to use marijuana since it is prohibited by Federal law. We don't want Mr. Wright to use it mistakenly. Lawson: We understand he is not to use marijuana. I have discussed it with him.

AUSA Brewlow: Mr. Wright has a history with firearms. He's on probation in Illinois, and in Georgia, "that may be domestic violence." So we'd like it clear, no firearms. Lawson: No objection. AUSA Breslow: The box wasn't checked in California

 Judge: No guns. For everyone's protection. Lawson: Understood. Clerk is now reading out the charges. "How do you plead?"

G Herbo: "Not guilty."

 AUSA Breslow: Mr. Wright is charged in Counts 8 and 12, on identity theft. The statutory penalty for wire fraud, the guidelines would at least be 41 to 51 months after trial plus mandatory 24 months consecutive to any other form of imprisonment

 AUSA Breslow: After trial, up to 95 months. If a plea, subtract three point. Some part of the offense may have been conducted while Mr. Wright was on probation, which would increase criminal history and expose him to more punishment. Judge: OK.

 G Herbo: Someone just rang my doorbell. Can I be excused to go open it? Judge: Yes. We'll wait for you. G Herbo is back. Judge: The discovery is going to be voluminous. More than in, say, a drug dealing case. 

AUSA Breslow: There's a lot of personal identifying info, PII. We will Bates stamp it.

 AUSA Breslow: There is info directly pertinent to Mr Wright. I gave Mr Lawson a video of his client's interview in 2018. There's also social media accounts.

 Judge: Mr Wright, you can join our Feb 24 discovery conference. I am a Magistrate. I deal with a lot of discovery. Lawson: We are all set.

AUSA Breslow: Will you enter a new order on the bail conditions? Judge: My deputy who's not here today will get back to you

Judge: Okay, we are finished. G Herbo: Good morning. Judge: It's afternoon here. G Herbo: Good afternoon then. Adjourned.

Co-defendants appeared - by Zoom - on December 7. Inner City Press, which has covered the #6ix9ine and Casanova cases in the SDNY, live tweeted this one:

U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine A. Robertson presiding, warns Joseph Williams, Steven Hayes, Demario Sorrells and Bender: Anything you say could be used against you.  

For DOJ: Andrew Tyler of DOJ's Criminal Division’s Fraud Section (Michelle Pascucci left DOJ on Friday, is said to be disappointed not to be on case)  Judge Robertson: All the defendants are paying their own lawyers except for Demario Sorrells, he's found entitled to publicly-funded lawyer, appointed.  AUSA: The bail reports prepared by our own Pre-Trial Services departments are just coming in...

Judge: The statute says conditions of release can be modified on new info or new evidence. I'm looking to confirm they get detention hearings in Chicago. That's what the statute calls for. 

DOJ said "Antonio Strong, 28, Herbert Wright, 25; Demario Sorrells, 34; Steven Hayes, 28; Joseph Williams, 28; and Terrance Bender, all from the Chicago area" - but Bender had bail hearing in Georgia, and is there today. 

Deputy Melissa Rivera: Mr. Williams, you are charged with wire fraud and aggravated ID theft, in violation of 18 USC 1028(a)&2, how do you plead? 
A: Not guilty. 

Bender, Zoom-ing in from Georgia, also pleads not guilty, in a black and purple sweatshirt. Judge is now reading the script from the (relatively) new Due Process Protection Act. Judge: From what I understand of this case, there will be extensive discovery?

AUSA: Yes, it's massive - credit card info, info of corporate victims defrauded by the defendants. Search warrants for phones and social media accounts.  [Inner City Press would and will ask: what's venue hook to Western Massachusetts?]

AUSA: We would ask for 2 months for the so-called automatic discovery. Judge: Tell the defendants what the possible sentences are. AUSA: The guidelines based on fraud loss up to $1.5 million. Offense level of 29 (after a trial, as to Mr. Strong), 25 for others. 

AUSA: Offense level would reduce level by three. But two year sentence would be mandatory. Judge: Our local rules require the US to make automatic disclosure under Rule 16. 

Now choosing next date in the case: Feb 24 at 3:30 pm with time under the Speedy Trial Act excluded through then. 

 Sorrells' lawyer says he has a plan to travel, he'll be making a motion.

Judge says she'll hear any opposition at that time, given the charges. 

Judge: Anything further?

Defense lawyers: No. AUSA: No.

The DOJ had said, "Chicago-Area Rappers Indicted in Nationwide Fraud Conspiracy Six defendants charged with using stolen credit cards to pay for private jet and yacht charters, private chefs, security guards, luxury hotels and designer puppies – Six Chicago-area men have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Springfield with participating in a nationwide wire fraud and identity theft scheme that victimized businesses across the United States.  Antonio Strong, 28; Herbert Wright, 25; Demario Sorrells, 34; Steven Hayes, 28; Joseph Williams, 28; and Terrance Bender, all from the Chicago area, were charged in an indictment unsealed yesterday on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.... Wright self-surrendered in the Central District of California. The defendants will make initial appearances in federal court in Springfield on Dec. 7, 2020."

For G Herbo, it's December 9. Watch this site.


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