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For Two Bronx Molotov Cocktails Bangladeshi Pled Got 72 Months Now Mendez Gets 27

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book
BBC-Guardian UK - Honduras - Scoop - Credit

SDNY COURTROOM EXCLUSIVE, July 12 -  In the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on August 4, a detention or release proceeding was held by Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker on a defendant charged with throwing a Molotov cocktail onto the front porch of a house in The Bronx, and of being the driver for a co-defendant who threw a Molotov cocktail at a car.

   The house-bomber, with a Federal Defender, was released on $15,000 bond. The car-bomber, with the day's Criminal Justice Act counsel, didn't even ask for a bail hearing. At the end he was led out asking, "So I'm staying in jail?" His significant other in the gallery, where Inner City Press was the only media as on the July 29 Azerbaijan AK-47 stalker of an Iranian dissident (story here, credited here).

  On September 1, District Judge John P. Cronan held arraignments and a status conference. Inner City Press went and live tweeted it here:

Now at arraignment of Molotov cocktail duo, both sitting in jury box with US Marshals. Judge Cronan mentions a Chowdhry civil case he has, bandwidth sale.

Co-defendant Mendez, incarcerated from Day 1, doesn't look happy. COVID mask not covering nose. Pleads not guilty as well.

 Ukraine Molotovs cited again. One placed under a dark Acura in The Bronx on June 6, 2022.  2 supporters, on info and belief Bangladeshi or South Asian, enter. Mendez' significant other not here.

AUSA Amanda Weingarten cites huge video tracking the duo all over The Bronx. Federal Defender says Chowdhry phone has exculpatory info on it. AUSA says it was never seized.

Defendant exchanging glances. Both in prison beige. Next is Nov 2, 9:30 am. Adjourned.

Back on August 24, the defendant who was released on conditions including drug treatment was back for a bail revocation, which it barely avoided. Inner City Press was present and live tweeted here.

Here is the blow by blow of the arson duo's first proceeding, here.

On January 19, 2023, it was docketed that Mendez intends to plead guilty on January 25: "NOTICE OF HEARING as to David Mendez: The change of plea hearing for David Mendez is scheduled for January 25, 2023 at 3:30 p.m. in Courtroom 12D of 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007. **Change of Plea Hearing set for 1/25/2023 at 03:30 PM before Judge John P. Cronan."

Inner City Press went to the guilty plea on January 25. Mendez pleaded guilty, and the US Attorney's Office unveiled an agreement to release him from detention to Odyssey House and postpone sentencing until October 31, 2023.

Then they asked for the transcript and even superceder to be sealed, because it seemed Mendez might cooperate if Chowdhury goes to trial in August. But the plea, and all that was said, was in open court. Judge Cronan asked for a status report in 60 days if it needs to be kept sealed.

On February 6 a status report was filed, but not to unseal. Instead, Mendez' counsel from Skadden Arps (CJA) wrote to say that Anchor House rescinded Mendez' admission and he "remains incarcerated in the MDC."

On February 21, Chowdhury pled guilty to all four counts: "Change of Plea Hearing as to Nayeem Ahmed Chowdhury held on 2/21/2023. AUSA Amanda Weingarten present. Defendant present with his attorney, Matthew Myers. Defendant pleaded guilty to Counts One, Two, Three and Four of the Indictment. Sentencing set for May 30, 2023 at 2:00 p.m in Courtroom 12D of 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007."

And on February 22, the Mendez plea transcript, whose sealing Inner City Press noted and questioned at the time, was belatedly and correctly reversed: "MEMO ENDORSEMENT as to Nayeem Ahmed Chowdhury, David Mendez re: [37] Letter Unsealing... ENDORSEMENT: The request is granted. The transcript from Defendant Mendez's change of plea hearing shall be unsealed. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge John P. Cronan on 2/22/23)."

But on February 27, the bail modification was rescinded and Mendez ordered to remain in detention, due to a New Jersey warrant / detainer: "ORDER as to (22-Cr-464-2) David Mendez. On February 23, 2023, the Court modified the conditions of Defendant David Mendez's bail to allow him to complete in-patient alcohol abuse treatment at a facility called Serendipity. Dkt. 41. The Court ordered Defendant to report to Serendipity by February 27, 2023. Id. On February 27, 2023, at approximately 11:50 a.m., the Court was informed by the United States Marshals Service that Defendant has an outstanding warrant in New Jersey that requires his extradition to New Jersey in the event of his release from federal custody, thereby precluding him from being able to report to Serendipity. Because the outstanding warrant and any attendant extradition would prevent Defendant from satisfying the condition of his bail that he complete inpatient alcohol abuse treatment at Serendipity, the bail conditions set on February 23, 2023 are revoked and Defendant is ordered detained pending further order of the Court. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge John P. Cronan on 2/27/2023)."

On June 14, 2023, the US asked for a sentence for Chowdhury at the high end of the 37 to 46 month guideline, citing recorded prison calls for a lack of acceptance of responsibility.

On June 20, Judge Cronan docketed this: "Nayeem Ahmed Chowdhury (1). Defendant present... the Court sentenced Defendant principally to a term of imprisonment of 72 months on each Count, to run concurrently, to be followed by a 3-year term of supervised release. $400 special assessment imposed. The Court deferred issuing a restitution order pursuant to 18 U.S.C. ยง 3664(d)(5), until September 13, 2023."

On June 23, Mendez' white shoe CJA counsel asked for time served: 11 months.

On July 12, Inner City Press went to Mendez' sentencing, where he got 27 months (minus the 11 and with good time, perhaps a year more, Judge Cronan said). Thread:

OK- now at Molotov cocktail sentencing in US v Mendez. US wants between 33 to 41 months. Victim is here in the courtroom

Victim: Two Molotovs were placed under my Acura. It was 12 feet from my row house. My son spotted it. It has tarnished my reputation with my neighbors. Mendez was just the hired goon. Who hired you, David? I have a hunch. I had a property dispute

Victim: My son says Mendez came with another and tried to force your way into my house. Why has the other not been charged?

 Judge: Thank you.

Defense: Mendez is sorry. We have a mitigation report. He dropped out of high school and began drinking Defense asks for time served - citing EDNY Mattis case that Inner City Press also covered.

AUSA: That was about George Floyd. Mattis was a lawyer. Mendez has a criminal record. Judge: What about the weapons charge? Defense: Just a switchblade and immitation gun.

Mendez: I would like to return to society. Judge: I will return with my decision. [Reading cases of Mattis and another who threw a Molotov cocktail into a bar that rejected him?] Feed will continue

Judge: Mendez stole a forklift in New Jersey and sold it to a scrap metal yard in The Bronx, where he also sold cocaine to an undercover. His co-defendant, who threw another Molotov, had no criminal record, like Mattis. Mr Mendez, I sentence you to 27 months.

The case is US v. Chowdhury, et al., 22-cr-464 (Cronan)



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