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In PPP Case Apocalypse Bella Pled Guilty Now US Asks For 51 Months Imprisonment

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 20 – In a Paycheck Protection Program fraud prosecution of Apocalypse Bella, Mackenzy Toussaint, Alvin Maxwell and others, a defense lawyer is being summoned to New York, seemingly to be fired by the judge.        

   On September 8, 2021 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Paul A. Engelmayer held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it, below.

  On November 15 Judge Engelmayer held another status conference, and Inner City Press again covered it. At that time Bella going forward with his bid to suppress the identification, by a witness whom the AUSA says met him three times in business meetings, his co-defendants were described as engaged in plea negotiations.

On March 21, 2022 there was a proceeding in Judge Engelmayer's courtroom and Inner City Press went. With no other media present, Bella pleaded guilty to one count, conspiracy to commit money laundering, with a guideline of 51 to 63 months and $3.9 million restitution. The proceeding took more than an hour, with interpretation from French.

On October 20, the US Attorney's Office put in its sentencing memo -- and asked that "the Court impose a sentence no less than 51 months' imprisonment."

Back on April 4, another guilty plea, by co-defendant Amos Mundendi, changing plea of not guilty to GUILTY on Count 3s. Forfeiture of $79,000. Sentencing set for 9/9/2022 at 11:00 AM

On March 30, another guilty plea: "Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer:Change of Plea Hearing as to Brandon Jackson held on 3/30/2022. Defendant present (on bond) with attorney, Daniel McGuinness. AUSA Dina McLeod present. Court reporter present. Defendant sworn, changes plea of not guilty to GUILTY on Count 5 of the S3 Indictment. See transcript. Plea entered by Brandon Jackson (5) Guilty as to Count 5. Sentencing set for 8/17/2022 at 11:00 AM in Courtroom 1305, 40 Centre Street, NYC.

Days after Bella's plea, this: "TRANSPORTATION ORDER as to Amos Mundendi. Upon the application of Amos Mundendi, by his attorney, Tamara Giwa, Esq., Federal Defenders of New York, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4282, and upon a finding of indigence and in the interests of justice, it is hereby: ORDERED that the United States Marshals Service furnish Amos Mundendi with funds to cover the cost of travel between Dallas, Texas and New York, New York for his court appearance on April 4th, 2022. It is ordered that Mr. Mundendi's flight from Dallas, Texas depart no earlier than 8:00 PM on April 3rd, 2022, and arrive no later than 8AM on April 4th, 2022. It is ordered that Mr. Mundendi's return flight from New York, New York depart after 4:00 PM on April 4th, 2022 and no later than 6:00 PM on April 4th, 2022. ORDERED that the aforesaid expenses shall be paid by the United States Marshals Service. The Clerk of Court is requested to terminate the motion at Dkt. No. 124. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 3/25/2022)."

On March 17, Alvin Maxwell filed a nine page document entitled. "Administrative Notice of the Office of Executor." On March 18, Judge Engelmayer ordered Maxwell's lawyer to explain this filing in a letter due March 23. The "Notice" is also directed to the United Nations and says, "You are now hereby warranted to Cease and Desist further arrogation and presumptions." We'll see.

  Judge Engelmayer has set a trial date - May 9, 2022.

On March 3, it was moved forward and called highly likely to happen: "ORDER as to Apocalypse Bella, Mackenzy Toussaint, Amos Mundendi, Alvin Maxwell, Brandon Jackson: This case has been placed on the jury trial list for May 3, 2022. The case must be trial-ready for that date. It is extremely likely to proceed to trial that day. As soon as the Court confirms that the matter will proceed on May 3, 2022, it will inform the parties. (Ready for Trial by 5/3/2022) (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 3/3/2022)."

On March 8, a guilty plea in the case: "Change of Plea Hearing as to Mackenzy Toussaint held on 3/8/2022. Defendant present (on bond) with attorney, Brett Martin. AUSA Dina McLeod present. Court reporter present. Defendant sworn, changes plea of not guilty to GUILTY on Count 3s. See transcript. Plea entered by Mackenzy Toussaint (2) Guilty as to Count 3s. Sentencing set for 6/16/2022 at 10:30 AM in Courtroom 1305, 40 Centre Street, New York, NY 10007 before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer."

  Back on November 17, Bella's counsel wrote to Judge Engelmayer seeking permission for Bella to travel to Seattle, Phoenix and LA from November 19 to December 6. The letter lists the hotels: Hotel Monaco Seattle, Phoenix Downtown State, Seattle Fremont. and Hollywood Walk of Fame Hotel.

It says "one of Mr. Bella's recording artists will be on tour during that time and Mr. Bella would like to accompany him during this time."

  Judge Engelmayer on November 18 denied the request: "Modification of Pretrial Conditions. ENDORSEMENT: DENIED. Counsel's request comes too last-minute for the Court to solicit meaningful feedback from the Government and to assess the request on the merits."

   Inner City Press will continue reporting: #CourtCaseCast.

Toussaint's lawyer Bret Martin, who said his Texas office is 15 minutes from where Toussaint lives, had missed the prior proceeding.

 He cited a medical procedure for his daughter, but was asked why he had not contacted the court, or arranged to get the transcript of the proceeding that he missed.  

Eventually he was ordered to come to New York with his client on September 15, in person, and to be prepared to discusses his retainer agreement.

Docketed on September 15 was Martin's mea culpa declaration, including "I clearly provided my Client a disservice at the beginning of this case... We both intend to appear in front of the Honorable Judge Engelmayer to speak more directly regarding the lack of attention and prioritization of these matter and attempting to get this case back on the right track."

On September 15 counsel for Apocalypse Bella informed Judge Engelmayer that Bella intends to move to suppress the identification of June 16, 2021, saying that a witness was shown six photos, for less than three seconds each."

Now on September 21, the Office of the US Attorney has responded with their description of the process: six photos in a binder, Bella and five "comparators." They says Bella's photo did not "so [stand] out from all the other photographs as to suggest to an identifying witness that [the accused] was more likely to the culprit," citing the US v. Williams decision in 2014 by SDNY Judge Jesse M. Furman.

On September 29, the deadline to produce discovery, the US wrote in to ask for more time to produce discovery from two laptops and a phone belonging to Toussaint, until October 18. Watch this site.

The case is US v. Bella, et al., 21-cr-247 (Engelmayer)



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