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In ISIS Support Case Against Husband and Wife CIPA Motion Coming, 3 Minute Visit Allowed

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

SDNY COURTROOM Exclusive, Nov 5 – The criminal case against a couple charged with trying to support ISIS and attack cadets at West Point has run into a dispute among Criminal Justice Act lawyers and a lengthy sealed proceeding on August 31. Further proceeding were held on September 1 and then on November 5 (Vlog 1 and 2, podcast here)

 Arwa Muthana married James Bradley and the Department of Justice says they tried to go join ISIS, on a ship from Newark, after speaking to an undercover law enforcement officer about today "taking out" cadets at West Point with a vehicle. DOJ's Complaint is online here.

On November 5 both were in court; Bradley's parent were the only people, along with Inner City Press, in the gallery. Bradley's lawyer Ma asked that a visit be allowed. Three minutes were agreed to, with no physical contact. Discovery issues have arised, with Bradley unable to access the law library in the MDC in Brooklyn due to lock downs.

 Judge Paul A. Engelmayer noted that sometimes laptop discovery in the cell is not appropriate, alluded he said to a sex trafficking case.

 Bradley in the jury box looked surprised. The case, Inner City Press infers, was US v. Randall / Rivera, which it also covered. It will continue to report on this case. The current cast of players: Christine Delince, Karloff Commissiong for Arwa Muthana, Richard Ma and Anthony Cecutti for James Bradley, and alone on November 5 at DOJ's table, Jason Richman. 

On August 31, Inner City Press was there - for large portions, in the courthouse hallway.  And on October 8, it emerged that the defendants' lawyers may no be CIPA cleared. Later in October, Arwa Muthana complained of dirty water in the MDC, where co-resident Ghislaine Maxwell is fighting to get the names of jurors but no call-in line for trial.

#CourtCaseCast podcast here.

 The case was listed in the day's calendar of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. SDNY Judge Paul A. Engelmayer had summoned the lawyers, noting that "the Court expects the participants, given the sensitivity of the situation, to attend the conference in person."  

Given that criminal proceeding are presumptively public, and given the COVID / Delta pandemic, Inner City Press called in on the AT&T conference line assigned to Judge Engelmayer. But, strangely, it then asked that an additional pass-code be entered.

   Inner City Press went to the courtroom, at 1:50 pm for a proceeding listed as starting at 1:30 pm.

Inside, defendant Arwa Muthana with a veil covering her hair sat with US Marshals with two attorneys. Another CJA lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, sat in the gallery, along with the Assistant US Attorney assigned to the case.  

  On October 26 Muthana through counsel complaint that in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, to which prisoners from the emptied out MCC have been taken, "there have been brown bits of dirt and debris in the water and that she and the other women were told to 'drink water out of the sinks near the showers, or the sink near the slop sink.'" Judge Engelmayer signed an order for the MDC to provide Muthana with clean and bottled water by October 29" -- three days from now. Another request was redacted.

 Back on August 31 the lawyer in the front, Christine Delince, had complained to Judge Engelmayer that Ms. Shroff had spoke with her client. But it emerged that the client had reached out to Ms. Shroff, via CORRLINKS email. Ms. Shroff told Arwa Muthana that her lawyers were working hard for her. But she maintained that she has a right to speak to whoever reaches out to her.   

  The ancillary issued raised by Ms. Delince, whose letter is partial redacted, is that if Bradley suggested to Muthana that she contact CJA lawyer Shroff, a conflict of interest may be raised.

 Judge Engelmayer ordered most people, including the Press, out of the courtroom.

Inside were Muthana and her two lawyers. In the hallway outside were Shroff, two AUSAs, Inner City Press and another CJA lawyer waiting for a sentencing scheduled for 2 pm. That defendant was brought up on the elevator in shackled, then taken downstairs again.  

After nearly an hour, some but not all of those in the hall were allowed into the courtroom: the other lawyers in or around the case, including Shroff and two lawyers for co-defendant James Bradley, one of whom announced that "everyone but the government" could come in.

But Inner City Press was told it could not come in.  

Later still, the AUSA on the case was allowed in, but not the AUSA awaiting the now delayed 2 pm sentencing nor the defense lawyer for that case.  

When at last all of the Muthana and Bradley lawyers came out, no summary of what had occurred was provided. The delayed sentencing appeared to come together, but the court reported had been kept too long for the Muthana case.

 So the sentencing was pushed to September 2; Judge Engelmayer said that in the Muthana and Bradley matter, two defendants were being urgently produced on September 1 (presumably Muthana and Bradley - though it is reported that another man Bradley was communicating with was arrested at JFK Airport in July 2019).

 On September 1 in the morning, there was nothing in the case listed in the day's SDNY Calendar on PACER. But Inner City Press understand that whatever happened, happened in the morning. And later into the docket, this: "Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer:Status Conference as to James Bradley, Arwa Muthana held on 9/1/2021. Defendants present (in custody) with attorneys, Christine Delince, Karloff Commissiong, Richard Ma & Anthony Cecutti. AUSAs Jacob Gutwillig present. Sabrina Shroff present. Court reporter present. See transcript." See transcript when? It is not in the docket.

 Certainly attorney-client privilege is important. So too is the principle that criminal proceedings in Federal court are open to the press and public, to the maximum extent possible.

Once the AUSA was invited back in on August 31, obviously attorney-client issues were no longer at issue. So what was the basis of excluding the press and public, and still not providing any disclosure what happened? Even so that CJA lawyers know when it is appropriate to return a communication from the MDC, and when it is not, in the Court's view?

The case is US v. Muthana, et al., 21-cr-277 (Engelmayer) 

[There's more to the story: Arwa Muthana is the older sister of Hoda Muthana, who ran away from her family to join ISIS in 2014 but later sought to return to the US.  "Anyone that believes in God believes that everyone deserves a second chance, no matter how harmful their sins were,' she told TV news from a refugee camp in 2019.  A federal judge ruled later in 2019 that Hoda was no longer a U.S. citizen and could not return to the country.  Hoda and Arwa are daughters of a Yemeni diplomat who became a naturalized citizen while on assignment in the United States. We'll have more on this, too - including the UN (corruption) angle.]


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