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In Drug Case of Venezuela and Turkey US Attorney Gave Discovery Late Plea Withdrawn

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE,  Nov 2 – Michols Orsini Quintero is charged with being a drug king pin in Venezuela, Turkey, Russia and the Dominican Republic.

Now the Department of Justice wants to withhold information about a cooperating witness, not only from the press and public, but even from the defense. 

On September 23 U.S. District Court for the Southern District Alvin K. Hellerstein held a publicly-noticed proceeding. Inner City Press covered it. 

 It emerged that AUSA Amanda Houle has made ex parte sealed filings with Judge Hellerstein, with not a wisp of them in the docket.

There was a discussion of showing some but not all of the information to Orsini's lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, on an "attorney's eyes only" basis. Shroff, to her credit, pushed back.

 Now on October 28, Judge Hellerstein held another proceeding after the US Attorney's Office late-produced some eight terabytes of information, more than double the volume it produced before one of the co-defendant pleaded guilty. This is post the US v. Nejad case Inner City Press has reported on and in which it anticipates making a filing - watch this site.

  While Shroff is still digging through the terabytes, attorney Christine Chung was  mulling withdrawing Victor Mones Coro's plea.

 Now Coro has withdrawn the plea, with the US writing on November 2: "Re: United States v. Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah, et al., No. 19 Cr. 144 (AKH) Dear Judge Hellerstein:  On October 21, 2020, Victor Mones filed a motion seeking relief in connection with alleged violations of the Government’s obligations under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972). At a pretrial conference on October 28, 2020, and in a subsequent Order docketed the same day, the Court denied Mones’s motion without prejudice. On October 30, 2020, Mones moved to withdraw his guilty plea. Although the Government does not concede any Brady or Giglio violations, under the unique facts and circumstances of this case, the Government does not object to Mones withdrawing his guilty plea.  Respectfully submitted, AUDREY STRAUSS Acting United States Attorney By: /s/ Samuel S. Adelsberg Amanda L. Houle Assistant United States Attorneys."

In the interest of increased transparency, here is the October 28 transcript, on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud, here.

And Inner City Press' filing to further unseal in Nejad has been docketed.

This case is US v. Orsini Quintero, 19-cr-144 (Hellerstein)


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