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Melzer Who Wanted Middle East War Challenges Racial Make Up of Jury Wheel

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 24 – Ethan Melzer a/k/a Etil Reggad was charged with conspiring to target his U.S. Army unit, allegedly because "another 10 year war in the Middle East would definitely leave a mark."

Since his indictment his lawyers at Federal Defenders have sought information about the selection of the grand jury, and the constitution of the Master and Qualified Jury Wheels (others are seeking this too, as covered by Inner City Press here).  

 On July 6 he was arraigned before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn. Inner City Press live tweeted it, below.

Now in November, Melzer through his Federal Defenders has filed a motion to dismiss based on the racial and ethnic make up of the Jury wheel used during the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge Gregory H. Woods asked for more information from FD's expert Jeffrey Martin, and on November 24 they filed it (and sent a copy of the declaration to SDNY Judge Katherine Polk Failla in the lead jury wheel case, Balde). Watch this site.

 On September 9 the assigned District Judge, Gregory H. Woods, arraigned Melzer on the superseding indictment. Inner City Press again live tweeted it, below.

  At week's end the US Attorney's Office previewed for Judge Woods requests for sealing they will make under CIPA: "To the extent the Court would like additional information about the Government’s anticipated CIPA § 4 motion, the Government is available to participate in an ex parte classified CIPA § 2 conference at the Court’s convenience. See 18 U.S.C. app. 3 § 2 (establishing that the court, at a  party’s request or on its own initiative, can hold “a pretrial conference to consider matters relating to classified information that may arise in connection with the prosecution”); see also United States v. Saipov, No. S1 17 Cr. 722 (VSB), 2019 WL 5558214, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 29, 2019) (concluding that it was proper for the Court to conduct several ex parte conferences, including a conference pursuant to CIPA § 2). The Government anticipates that by the time of the next conference, defense counsel will have had an opportunity to review the limited amount of classified discovery that the Government plans to produce and the Government’s CIPA § 10 notice. Accordingly, at that conference, the Government will ask the Court to set the deadline for the Government’s CIPA § 4 motion as the same date as the deadline for the defendant’s pretrial motions, and to set a schedule for the defendant’s CIPA § 5 notice and for CIPA § 6 briefing." Inner City Press will continue to report on this.

Judge Woods says this will be an arraignment on superseding indictment. Federal Defender says if Melzer came into the courthouse, he'd have to be quarantined 14 or 21 days after it. So, it's by phone [earlier today a video sentencing in another case broke down]

AUSA Hellman: The superseding indictment contains the original charges - conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals / service members abroad, terrorist acts - but adds 2 counts: illegal transmission of national defense info, to a faction or person in a foreign country

AUSA Hellman: The defendant wanted to set off a race war and bring down Western civilization. Judge Woods: Mr Melzer, you have the right for me to read the superseding indictment to you on the record. Melzer: No thank you, Judge. 

Melzer pleads not guilty to each count. AUSA Hellman: The US has made 2 discovery productions, "significant and voluminous," including Telegram messages.

AUSA Hellman: The US got warrants for defendant's two cell phone and his PlayStation game console. The government will continue to produce discovery.

 Judge Woods: How does the government propose to deal with classified information? [Inner City Press note: In the CIA / Schulte case they set up a SCIF in 500 Pearl Street, but now counsel in that case says the room does not have the ventilation needed amid COVID]

 AUSA Hellman: There will be only 100 pages of classified material. It can be stored in a SCIF. We have a protective order under CIPA. Judge Woods: I don't have the CIPA order in front of me. I don't see it filed on the docket. [Me either].

Inner City Press  Federal Defender: We'd ask for 90 days to review the discovery. Mr. Marvinny will have to renew his classified status / access. AUSA Hellman: I checked, we did not submit the CIPA order and won't under Mr. Marvinny is re-certified.

 The next date in Melzer case is December 9. Inner City Press will continue to cover it.

From July:

Voice: "This is the MCC. We have Melzer here. Ethan." "Hello?"

He is represented by Federal Defenders, two lawyers. 

The US Attorney's Office says Melzer wrote “I would’ve died successfully . . . cause [] another 10 year war in the Middle East would definitely leave a mark.” 

Judge Netburn: You are charged with six counts, including conspiracy to murder and maim in a foreign country. Have you received a copy of this indictment?  Melzer: Yes, Judge.  

Judge Netburn: How do you plead? 

Melzer: Not guilty, Judge. 

And that was it - less than 14 minutes, no request for release of bond (seems clear that would be denied), no mention of next date. Case is assigned to District Judge Gregory Woods. Inner City Press will continue to report on it. 

The case is US v. Melzer, 20-cr-314 (Woods / Netburn)


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