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DOJ Seeking Death Penalty on Saipov for West Side Attack, Now Stay Request on Eve of Trial

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Thread
Honduras - The Source - The Root - Podcast

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 10 – Sayfullo Saipov has been facing a trial that may result in the death penalty for killing eight people with a van along the West Side Highway.

  On May 4 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Vernon S. Broderick held a conference on the case and Inner City Press live tweet it here and below.

On Columbus Day, October 10, 2022 - the day before jury selection - Saipov's Federal Defenders filed a motion to stay the proceedings, based on racial disparities in the jury pool, including the exclusion of "inactive" voters. Will Judge Broderick grant it? Watch this site.

On September 16, this from the prosecutors: "Re: United States v. Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, S1 17 Cr. 722 (VSB) Dear Judge Broderick: The Court has previously requested updates on the status of the defendant’s request to the Attorney General to withdraw the Notice of Intent to Seek the Death Penalty in this case. (Dkt. No. 80). We were notified today that the Attorney General has decided to continue to seek the death penalty. We conveyed this decision to defense counsel and the victims." Letter on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud here.

And on October 5, this: "ORDER as to Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov. Given that the Defense intends to submit an additional reply in support of its Brady motion by October 5, 2022, (Doc. 587), I do not intend to make a ruling on the Defense's Brady motion during the Final Pretrial Conference. The parties also asked in their email whether the list of jurors scheduled to appear on the first two days of jury selection is finalized and, if so, whether the parties can be provided a copy of the list. The Jury Department has finalized the list of jurors, with the prospective jurors to be stricken for cause redacted ("Redacted List of Jurors"). A copy of the Redacted List of Jurors will be sent to the parties by email and filed under seal. At the start of individual voir dire, we will summon 15 jurors a day, in order of juror number, and will continue that process until we have qualified a sufficient number of prospective jurors. As jury selection progresses, I will revisit whether to summon more or fewer jurors each day (Signed by Judge Vernon S. Broderick on 10/5/22)."

On August 25 the Federal Defenders alleged massive Brady disclosure violations by DOJ, including evidence "that he was influenced by others who share culpability yet they are not being prosecuted, much less facing the death penalty." They want a hearing.

On August 29 the Federal Defenders wrote in again, now demanding that the October 11 trial be postponed. They say the new document show or go to that Saipov "was radicalized or perhaps even groomed by a network of Uzbek extremists." Inner City Press will continue to follow and report on this case.

  Along with discussion of jury selection procedures and a pending request by Federal Defenders to deauthorize the use of the death penalty, the issue of Saipov's desire for a battery for his clock radio, or a hand cranked radio arose. Also, that he (or his lawyers) want only vaccinated jurors. Thread.

On September 12, Judge Broderick granted the request for vaxed-only jurors, and more: "ORDER as to Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov... Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that an individual may not be seated as a juror in the above-captioned case unless at least two weeks have passed since the individual's second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, or at least two weeks have passed since the individual's single-dose J&J/Janssen vaccine. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, notwithstanding any courthouse policies to the contrary, all individuals in the courtroom during the trial in the above-captioned case must wear masks, except for witnesses while testifying and counsel when questioning from the podium. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, notwithstanding any courthouse policies to the contrary, jurors must wear masks in the jury room unless eating or drinking, in which case, jurors are directed to remain at least six feet apart. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that everyone must otherwise abide by all COVID protocols in place for the courthouse. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Vernon S. Broderick on 9/12/22)."

On August 23, Judge Broderick docketed his disclosure to the parties: "ORDER as to Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov. On August 20, 2022, potential juror #943 left a voicemail with my Chambers. I have notified the parties of this voicemail, and provided a copy to them. Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties can take the voicemail into consideration when evaluating potential juror #943 for service. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Vernon S. Broderick on 8/23/22)." If in cases like US v. Ghislaine Maxwell juror questionnaire information is made public, why not this voicemail, so the public can understand?

 Back on August 3, 2022, this: "ORDER as to Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov. On July 29, 2022, I ordered that the parties appear for a conference on August 10, 2022, at 4:00 p.m."

Inner City Press live tweeted it, here.

Back on June 3, Judge Broderick held another conference and Inner City Press live tweeted it, here and below.

The upshot? Federal Defenders do not want to travel to Uzbekistan despite a State Department authorization. And they want to wait to see if new Attorney General Garland issues a policy against seeking the death penalty. It was strongly implied that Saipov would plead guilty to life without parole.  Podcast here.

On August 6 the US wrote to Judge Broderick that depositions in Uzbekistan in the Fall of 2021 would be fine. But Saipov's Federal Defenders said not so fast, the government there wants to sit in and anyway, new SDNY COVID policy amid the Delta variant will not allow enough jurors. They note that "over 50 countries are currently at Level 4 of the State Department's travel advisory, including the UK, Ireland, Greece, the Kyrgyz Republic, Portugal, Cuba, South Africa, the BVI, the Maldives and the Netherlands."

On August 12, Judge Broderick sided with the defense on this: "ENDORSEMENT: Given the low vaccination rate in Uzbekistan and the rising COVID-19 infection rate, I find that it is premature to schedule Rule 15 depositions at this time. Within 30 days, the parties should file a joint status letter updating me on their discussions regarding alternate locations for the depositions and the protocol that will be used. The parties should inform me whether any of the countries proposed by defense counsel are viable options. The parties are also directed to update me within 30 days regarding defendant's potential deauthorization request."

Previously at a court appearance on November 18 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Vernon S. Broderick, after his Federal Defender inquired into Saipov receiving dental care, Saipov told Judge Broderick he had no right to judge him.

    As Inner City Press recounted moments later outside the courthouse on Pericope here, Saipov asked Broderick, What about the thousands or millions of Muslims killed by American bombs?

  Judge Broderick replied, I am just the referee, it is the jury that will judge you. And it emerged, that jury might be anonymous and/or semi-sequestered.

   Much of the November 20 conference, delayed by problems with the sound system for the Uzbek interpreter, concerned how the jury will be selected. Some 3000 questionnaires will be mailed out, asking potential jurors about hardship but not disclosing what the case is about.

  Judge Broderick said, with response rates to such summons being being 30%, perhaps it was better to spring more information on the prospect once they were in court.

     Federal Defender alluded to an "incident" in which unspeficied inappropriate language was used; Judge Broderick responded but left the issue murky. Then Saipov asked to speak, and did. The case is US v. Saipov, 17-cr-722 (Broderick)



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