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Accused Hezbollah Helper Saab Wanted April Trial Then Jan 10 Reaffirmed Now 2d Request

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 29– Alexei Saab, charged with providing aid to Hezbollah, had a proceeding before  U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Gardephe on June 15, 2020. Inner City Press covered it, as it did another hearing on April 7, 2021, here and below. 

  On July 15, Saab's trial was set, for January 10, 2020: "ORDER as to Alexei Saab. Subject to COVID-19 protocols, trial is scheduled for January 10, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. in Courtroom 705 of the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse, 40 Foley Square, New York, New York."

  On November 8, Saab's lawyer wrote to request a delay, noting that the US Attorney's Office does not agree. The argument is that many motions in limine, and CIPA motions, are outstanding.

 The letter also says, "the Defense understands that the SDNY is not fully reopened" - this while major trials like US v. Ghislaine Maxwell proceed, still without any listen-only call-in phone lines, amid COVID and the Delta variant.

 On November 12, Judge Gardephe reaffirmed the trial date: "MEMO ENDORSEMENT [129] LETTER MOTION addressed to Judge Paul G. Gardephe from Marlon G. Kirton, Esq. dated November 8, 2021 re: Trial Schedule... ENDORSEMENT...The application is denied. Trial will remain scheduled for January 10, 2022, and all pretrial deadlines remain in effect. An order is forthcoming that will resolve the outstanding pretrial motions (Signed by Judge Paul G. Gardephe on 11/12/21)."

On November 29, Saab's lawyer wrote again to Judge Gardephe, asking for an extensions because filing motions in limine would be difficult if not impossible given the number of issues outstanding. The letter attaches a transcript for the proposition that Saab has the right to fully brief any and all Section 4 CIPA issues. Watch this site.

  On May 24-25, Saab's lawyer filed a technically untimely motion for bail and to declassify certain information partially disclosed to the defense.

  Annexed is an affidavit from Anthanasios Cambanis, disputing that Saab know or would have thought that the person he was allegedly ordered to shoot at was an Israeli spy. Thanassis Cambanis calls it a training exercise. Watch this site.

 Back on June 15 his lawyer said Saab, aka Rachid, has no access to law library.   

Judge Gardephe asked if the parties have been discussing resolving the case by plea.

But the talks stopped when Saab filed motions. His lawyer Marlon Kirton says remains open to resolving it, but "it's leaning more toward a trial now."  

Assistant US Attorney Jason Richman said that with his Office it's fine to provide an update in 30 days, with motion and trial schedule. He said disposition is "unlikely... Things are trending toward a trial." He mentioned the Classified Information Procedures Act, and Section 4 brief. 

Judge Gardephe said, There is a lot going on in this case. We'll give you another 30 days to take stock.


There was another status conference on September 18. Inner City Press live tweeted it:

His lawyer says Saab hasn't accessed the MCC law library since March, and no access to hard drive for discovery. 

Saab's lawyer: We are going to make a motion to dismiss the indictment. It's hard because the SDNY has not pattern jury instructions.

Judge Gardephe: He's proposing briefing through February, with a hearing on or after March 22. Is that acceptable to the US? Yes

 Deputy: Thurs, April 1?

Judge Gardephe: I don't want it the first day in April. How about April 6, 10 am? AUSA: I'm supposed to be out of town. But a colleague could do it.

Judge Gardephe: April 7,  then - hearing or oral argument. Shall we exclude time? Yes.

And on April 7, Inner City Press again covered it and live tweeted, here:

Saab's lawyer is questioning why the FBI got search warrant for immigration issues when they immediately told him, this is about Hezbollah.

 Defense: It raises questions that the [NJ Magistrate] Judge was presented with incomplete information to sign the warrant. Judge Gardephe: If there are misrepresentation in the search warrant application, they might be relevant. But I'd have to read the affidavit

Judge Gardephe: I'm in chambers, let me see if I can find my calendar. Four weeks to file- how about a hearing on defendant's motions on June 21, 10:30 am? I hope we can do it in person. Adjourned.

The case is US v. Saab, 19-cr-676 (Gardephe).



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