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Defendant Fired Wilkie Farr For Pushing Plea Now Pleads Guilty With Eye on Safety Valve

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 1 – A man identified as Tafari Gordon was arrested in December 2019 and charged with having $7,000 cash to buy drugs.  

  On July 31, 2020 the man wrote to assigned Judge Alison J. Nathan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York -- as RasTafari Bey. He wanted to fire his assigned lawyer and represent himself. 

  On August 25 Judge Nathan held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it, below.

 Now on December 1, Tafari Gordon has pleaded guilty, with the prospect of a safety value proffer before his sentencing on March 11. The allocution ran into problems on the issue of what Gordon thought when he agreed to transport his co-defendant. After conferred in a private (virtual) room, Gordon returned and answered to the US Attorney's Office's satisfaction.

 The proceeding also had issues: It began on Skype with video and then moved to AT&T, audio only. While no notice was put into the docket - perhaps this should be foreseen - Inner City Press followed along. Judge Nathan is overseeing among others US v. Nejad, and US v. Ghislaine Maxwell. She takes all cases seriously.

 Back on August 25 the defendant said his assigned lawyer, Michael S. Schachter from the Wilkie Farr firm, had been pressuring him to plead guilty since he first got the case. So he wanted to go it alone.

 His letter asserts he is not subject to U.S. courts' jurisdiction, citing the "Moorish National Republic Federal Governemnt Northwest Africa" and cc-ing Michael Pompeo. 

Judge Nathan explained that such issues will not be presented to a jury. She urged him to consider taking on another lawyer.

But she agreed to schedule a so-called Faretta hearing. Schachter said he couldn't make the chosen time, due to a medical appointment. So another time was chosen.

And on that day, September 3, Jenna Dabbs of Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP was swapped in for Schachter and by December 1 the guilty plea followed.

The case is definitely called US v. Gordon, 20-cr-54 (Nathan)


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