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Virgil Griffith Is Denied Bail In SDNY As Texts About Renouncing Citizenship for North Korea Cited

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 26 – Virgil Griffith who was arrested on Thanksgiving on federal charges of illegally traveling to North Korea and provide crypto currency advice was denied bail on December 26.

The US Attorney's Office cited his text messages to his parents about renouncing his U.S. citizenship and setting up a money laundering business in North Korea.

  In the Magistrates Court of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York his parents were present, along with Inner City Press as the only media. They were there since the morning, and watched the other cases Inner City Press reported on.

  Assistant US Attorney Kimberly Ravener told SDNY Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses that Griffith had misled Pre-Trial Services about his residence in Puerto Rico; his laywer Mr. Buckley first said Griffith owned it, then that he rented.

  Judge Moses asked why he has a residence in Puerto Rico. Buckley said Puerto Rico is a developing area in the crypto space.

  Griffith's request to be released was first stayed by SDNY District Judge Denise Cote, operating a "Part I" judge at the time. Buckley at the conclusion near 5 pm of the bail denial hearing on December 26 said he and a colleague flying in might seek to appeal. Inner City Press will continue to cover this case, as it covered the OneCoin trial. Here is its live-tweet threat of December 26, more on Patreon here:

Right now Virgil Griffith is seeking release on bail from charges of illegal travel to, & crypto currency assistance to, #NorthKorea. Inner City Press is the only media  @SDNYLIVE  Magistrates Court

US Attorney cites $250,000 assets- thread Inner City Press @innercitypress · 50m US Attorney says Griffith in text message claimed to maintain the world's largest portal to the Dark Web. Mag Judge Moses asks if gov't thinks North Korea will send a private plane to pick him up

 US Attorney says Griffith faces 15 to 21 months and since he never served time before he may seek to flee, says it only takes one mistake at the border Griffith's lawyer says there is nothing illegal about using crypto currency. Offers to compile for court a list of his accounts, including it seems $65,000 in "old fashioned saving account"

 Replying to  @innercitypress Judge Moses: he didn't just invezt in crypto currency, he designs crypto currencies. Defense lawyer: it's a developing market. It shouldn't harm him under Bail Reform Act Defense lawyer: We've sought pre indictment discovery about his supposed discussion of rebouncing his US citizenship on his cell phone, "which we don't have"

 Defense lawyer says #SDNY Judge Cote did not have all the facts when she ordered Griffith detained. Will Mag Judge Moses "reverse" District Judge Cote? She is asking defense counsel how the last month has been spent.

 Defense lawyer says Griffith would live in Alabama with his parents (who are here in court). Inner City Press has seen them waiting here since morning, through the other case it has reported on

 Defense lawyer: "Prior counsel for Doctor Griffith was in communication with one of the AUSAs on the complaint right up to arrest on Thanksgiving... He does own a residence in Puerto Rico." Judge Moses: Why?
 Defense lawyer: "Puerto Rico is a developing area in the crypto space... He didn't purchase a return flight to Singapore, but to Baltimore, his sister's house."

AUSA: We were not informed there would be any more cooperation... We were unable to locate him. He has not given sufficient financial info. He may have misled Pre Trial Services: he owns property, and a shell company in Puerto Rico  AUSA: Griffith told his parents he might set up a money laundering company in North Korea. Defense lawyer: Sorry I said he owns property in Puerto Rico. He rents, like in Singapore. AUSA: He can acquire property overseas with his digital wallet.

Defense lawyer is reading out AUSA's email setting a meeting after Thanksgiving - then arrest..

Judge Moses: there are no conditions to assure defendant's presence. Bail is denied.

 Judge Moses: Defendant had a month to provide transparency into his accounts. I am somewhat troubled by delay in disclosing Puerto Rico residence. His private communications to his parents about renouncing citizenship and serting up money laundering in hostile NK

  Inner City Press will continue to cover this case. More on Patreon here.

 Earlier on December 26 a defendant named Stephanie Perez was unsuccesfully offered a bail package by the US Attorney's office on December 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrates Court. The offered package was for a $20,000 personal recognisance bond co-signed by two financially responsible people.

  But SDNY Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses asked, What about Ms. Perez' earlier failures to appear? Assistant US Attorney Brett M. Kalikow responded by referring to "the written application we passed up to your Honor" - that is, a non public document.

  Judge Moses said she had read it, whatever it is, and that it addressed only Ms. Perez' intentions. Kalikow asked, "May we approach?"

  There followed a non-public sidebar discussion. Inner City Press went next door and asked for the docket number; they did not have it. As the matter was put over to some undefined time, Inner City Press hopes to have more. The previously "Murky Mag Court" series was converted, but issues remain. Watch this site.



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