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HRA Fraudster Bauta Gets Two Years and Harsh Criticism From SDNY Judge Caproni Next Up Is Lawyer

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 17 – Eliana Bauta who defrauded the NYC Human Resources Administration was admonished and given two years in prison as a sentence on July 17 by
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Valerie Caproni. Brought in shackled and leaving the same way, with a request to serve her time in Alderson, West Virginia, Bauta was harshly criticized at sentencing by Judge Caproni (unlike the love-fest that took place less than an hour later across Pearl Street for college basketball defendant Chuck Person, click here for that).

 Judge Caproni noted that Bauta encouraged others to mislead, and went on the lam to Florida with her boyfriend, leaving her child in New York City. She called the fraud guidelines appropriate, again unlike Judge Preska on Chuck Person, and other SDNY judges. So what now will happen to the lawyer Judge Caproni has admonished in the Bauta case?

Lawyer Justin Levine is in trouble. On June 21 he was arraigned for bringing contraband - cigarettes and allegedly marijuana and a scalpel - to one of his incarcerated clients.

 On July 2 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York courtroom of Judge Valerie Caproni, with Inner City Press the only media present, Levine was given two weeks to explain what Judge Caproni called a lie, or be referred to the SDNY's Disciplinary Committee.

  Levine has been representing Geraldine Perez in a case involving bank fraud which Inner City Press has covered since March, here. Levine's sentencing submission included, incongruously, a single page of a handwritten letter. Judge Caproni issued an order that Levine must refile the letter.

Levine did not respond.

When he did, he claimed that "soon after the sentence I left the country for a previously scheduled vacation. While in South America I had no access to my e-mail. I returned on June 27th, whereupon I learned of this Court's orders."

But Levine had been in New York, and himself charged with a crime, on June 21.

Judge Caproni asked him repeatedly who what he had told her was not affirmatively misleading, or a lie.  Levine dodged as best as he could, saying he could see why it appeared to be misleading.

Finally Judge Caproni gave him a deadline to explain it all in writing and under oath or she will refer him to the SDNY Disciplinary Committee. More on Patreon, here. Inner City Press will continue to follow this case. , into her courtroom arrived four individuals seemingly unconnected from Nunez' Washington Heights crime. After Nunez' family left following the nine year sentence imposed by Judge Caproni, the four went to the front. It was a US Attorney and and FBI agent, a defense lawyer named Levin and the defendant, Jorge Torrealba. He was soft spoken, waiving his right to be indicted but pleading not guilty. To what? Receipt and possession of child pornography. The government, as it turns out, asked for a continuance to review "mitigation materials." His lawyer asked for more time so he could see a new psychologist, since his last one stopped accepting his insurance. When afterward Inner City Press, the only media present for this proceeding, received the case on Pacer it was truly horrific, including a reference to a two year old, on Kik Messenger. This is the same SDNY where an employee of the West Side Market got five years for ordering up child porn, live, from the Dominican Republic. Should coverage of these proceeding be hindered, or limited to those who choose not to cover it? 

On March 15 an NYPD officer who blew the whistle on cheating in promotion exams faced blow-back himself on March 15 in the SDNY

Jonathan Blatt is asking SDNY Judge William H. Pauley to restore his status as a probationary Lieutenant; the NYPD's lawyer said there are sexual harassment complaints against Blatt. The City's filings says Blatt "is charged with violation of NYPD rules prohibiting sexual harassment and the creation of a hostile work environment. The allegations against plaintiff include comments regarding threesomes and 'blumkins,' a particular sexual act, to a female service member."

While some call it a case of the "Bad Lieutenant," Blatt says his termination was retaliation, casting a chilling effect on himself and other officers to challenge the department. Cases going both ways were cited -- HANAC (101 F 3d 877), about the Mayor's decision, and Bartels v. Incorporated Village of Lloyd, 751 F Supp 2d 387 at 397. Judge Pauley reserved decision. The case is Blatt v. City of New York, 19 Civ. 1227 (WHP).

Back on March 8 a shooting in The Bronx in October 2018 was the subject of an ill-attended conference in the SDNY. Jerome Jackson is described as in a white t-shirt with silver handgun on 2 October 2018 on Freeman Street - but in the SDNY courtroom of Judge Kevin Castel he was in jail house blues and shackles. His lawyer Julia Gatto questioned whether the NYPD detectives who questioned Jackson about the shooting were in fact part of a joint task force with the Feds - no, Karin Potlock for the government said, and on that basis no suppression - and questioned probable cause. There will be a hearing on that on April Fools Day and Inner City Press aims to be there. The case is US v. Jackson, 18 CR 760. A week before on March 1 when Statue of Liberty climber Patricia Okoumou appeared in the SDNY , it was to face revocation of bail for more recent climbs, all to protest the separation of immigrant families. SDNY Judge Gorenstein did not revoke bail but imposed house arrest. He jibed that it appeared Ms. Okoumou could only support herself by donations garnered by climbing. Afterward Inner City Press asked her lawyer Ron Kuby about this argument. He said the judge has it precisely wrong, or in reverse: she raised money because she is an activist, she is not an actively in order to make money. Ms. Okoumou raised her fist, and headed to Staten Island. Photos here. Inner City Press, which interviewed Okoumou on December 5 just after another SDNY decision, in the Patrick Ho / CEFC China Energy UN bribery case, headed out and streamed this Periscope, and this Q&A, with more to come, on this case and others. How guns eject shell casings was the subject of expert testimony in a Bronx gang trial on February 27 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Before Judge Robert W. Sweet, an ATF agent traced a bullet back to Illinois; under cross examination he said a shell casing might eject feet rather than yards unless it bounced on something. Then testimony went back to 2007, a 14-year old with a gun heading from the Millbrook projects to the Mitchell Houses. The defense asked for a mistrial when the name of a second gang was introduced; the prosecution shot back (so to speak) that it came from photos on the defendant's own Facebook page. And so it goes in trials these days. Back on February 25 a prison sentence of life plus five years was imposed for a Bronx murder by SDNY Chief Judge Colleen McMahon on February 25. She presided over the trial in which Stiven Siri-Reynoso was convicted of, among other things, murder in aid of racketeering for the death of Jessica White, a 28 year old mother of three, in the Bronx in 2016. Jessica White's mother was in the court room; she was greeted by Judge McMahon but declined to speak before sentencing. Siri-Reynoso was representing himself by this point, with a back-up counsel by his side. Judge McMahon told him, "You're a very smart man... a tough guy, a calculating person... You are a coward, sent a child to do it for you... Your emissary shot the wrong person, a lovely lady... It was a vicious, evil attack against the good people of that neighborhood." When she imposed the life plus five sentence, a woman on the Jessica White side of the courtroom cried out, yes Ma'am, put the animal away! Later, after Siri-Reynoso ended asking how he can get more documents about the case, a woman on his side of the courtroom said, "No te preocupes, muchacho, Dios sabe lo que hace" - don't worry, God knows what he is doing. But does He? Watch this site.


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