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In SDNY Five Tekashi 6ix9ine Co Defendants Get 49 Disks and Headphones Water Bottle DNA Tales

By Matthew Russell Lee, Periscope, Photos

SDNY COURTHOUSE, April 30 – When defendant Jamel Jones arrived to plead guilty on April 3 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, his lawyer informed the court that the government had agreed to not seek forfeiture or restitution. Judge Engelmayer looked at the plea agreement and said that was not in there.

 Now on April 30 Judge Engelmayer held a joint conference in the large case, inviting lawyers and six defendants: FUGUAN LOVICK, ROLAND MARTIN, AARON YOUNG, ANTHONY ELLISON, DENARD BUTLER, and, KINTEA MCKENZIE. Five were Courtroom 110, with U.S. Marshals and enough audience to have the conference moved from Judge Engelmayer's usual courtroom 1305 (with there being any notice on the door of 1305, it was noted).

   The government described trying to crack a phone with an algorithm, about having to send gloves from a shooting out to a private lab since the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner would only test the jacket. Kintea McKinzie, it was said, was linked to a shooting by a water bottle that was dropped on video surveillance. The MCC but not the MDC allows the defense lawyers to send in headphones for their clients to review discovery, 49 disk each. There was talk of a common paralegal.

  Pressed, the government predicted that "less than three" of the remaining defendants would in fact go all the way to trial, set to start on September 4. Judge Engelmayer tried to find a motion schedule that would prevent having to litigate in late August. We'll have more on this.

As to Jamel Jones, the sentencing range agreed to is 135 to 168 months, significantly longer than fellow Nine Trey Gangster Bloods defendant Faheem Walters, who pled less than an hour before, agreed to: 68 to 74 months with a five year minimum. 
Walter's allocution was that after "the incident" in Manhattan exactly one year ago on 3 April 2018, Kifano Jordan handed the gun to Daniel Hernandez a/k/a Tekashi 6ix9ine who in turn, on the way back to Brooklyn, handed it to Faheem Walter. There is a mandatory five year sentence, maximum (without appealing) of 74 months. Walter's sentencing is on July 10; Jones is set for July 17.

Back on March 28 Daniel Hernandez was brought for his Curcio hearing before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, he had four colored braids and face tattoos and a wide smile. He conferred with Dawn Florida, his non-conflicted counsel as the docket puts it, but also with the allegedly conflicted lawyer Lance Lazzaro. Then Judge Engelmayer began his questions, about Hernandez' GED and if he understood and accepted the possible conflict of interest.

  Only that morning co-defendant Kifano Jordan pled guilty. But Faheem Walter, whom Lazzaro also represented in the past, had not yet pled guilty. The case overall  is U.S. v. Jones et al, 18-cr-00834-PAE, a/k/a Nine Trey Gangster Bloods.

  Hernandez said Kifano Jordan had referred him to Lazzaro on a state case (in the elevator afterward when Inner City Press asked about this case, the answer was that it has been dismissed); he became aware Lazzaro had represented Faheem Walter when Lazzaro made an appearance for Walter sometime in October or November 2018. He said he understood the conflicts and accepted them. Judge Engelmayer said he accepted it. Lazzaro is back. Minutes later in the sunshine outside 500 Pearl Street Lazzaro was working his phone on another case. And so it goes in the SDNY.

The day before on March 27 after a long trial for a Bronx murder 22 years ago in 1997, SDNY Judge Kevin Castel read instructions for the jury and told them, "And with that, you may discuss the case among yourself." After the jury went into their room, with marshal in the hall outside, Judge Castel told the seven lawyers they were all welcome to come back and appear before him. He said only a grueling work load for lawyers on trial keep the jury trial system going, so the jury service is tolerable in terms of length. Then he added his eight minute rule - that they should not go back to their offices (except maybe the prosecutors, to St. Andrew's Place), so they can return to court on eight minutes' notice in case the jurors send a note out. The US v. Latique Johnson trial Inner City Press has been covering or trying to cover across Pearl Street in 40 Foley Square, it remains unclear if the exhibits will be put online or notice given. Earlier this week Inner City Press dropped by and asked one of the defense lawyers, the one who waved a gun around during summation, if there had been jury notes. Yes, he said. But what did they say? In the Bronx cold case, two days before on on March 25 a government witness described how his van was shot at on Thanksgiving 1997 as he drove away from a disco he found too crowded. The defense quizzed him if he had been selling drugs on 26 March 1999 and 29 January 2000 and 2 February 2001 before being deported to the Dominican Republic. "I would just sell them when I needed a couple of bucks," he said. As to who killed his brother, witness Ventura said, "I know who did it." While Inner City Press had to leave to cover the Michael Avenatti presentment 12 stories higher in the SDNY courthouse, a person watching the entire trial marveled to Inner City Press that "the defendants wife came, she works for Immigration, how is that possible." We'll have more on this ongoing trial. Back on March 21 a former NY police officer now working in Florida testified about stopping a white van with a gun in it on 188th Street and the Grand Concourse on 29 August 1991 and, along with Officer Serge Denecko, arresting for men in the van. Earlier a woman who was shot at and grazed on the chin described seeing a gun sticking out the passenger's side, and that Hinton, her ex boyfriend, sold drugs on 149th Street under the direction of "Rob," presumably the defendant Roberto Acosta a/k/a Mojica. More and more facts are coming in - maybe too many? Back on March 20 a now elderly man who had moved tens of kilos of cocaine in 1998 was cross examined about how much times he has met with the prosecution to prepare this testimony. It got repetitive, as pointed out by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Kevin Castel. Did he meet Detective Vasquez on January 26, 2018? He couldn't remember the date but yes, many times. Did Detective Vasquez drive him around and take photographs of the sights and stash-houses he pointed out (presumably including 156th and Broadway)? Yes. Later on March 20 there were two forms of testimony about University Avenue in The Bronx. There was the double murder, on 22 December 1997, Carlos Ventura and another. By 1999 there were payments into the prison commissary account of Jose Diaz a/k/a Cano, a full $200 from Joyce Pettaway who lived in Apartment 4-G of 2769 University Avenue from September 1992 to November 5, 2001, according to a stipulation by the landlord Jonah Associated. There was a long sidebar about an objection to double hearsay; there was a reference to two cassette tapes of recorded conversations between Robert Acosta a/k/a Mojica and a person whose name was redacted, and a description of how evidence is destroyed. Two days before, the now-old man testified about picking drugs up in Jackson Heights, Queens and Lodi, New Jersey and cooking it into crack in an an apartment on the aforementioned (and photographed) 156th Street and Broadway in Manhattan. At day's end under cross examination he described in detail buying a kilo of coke for $40,000 and selling it for $125 a gram - a mark up for nearly 300%. The goal seemed to be to get the jury to see the witness as a predator, not exactly difficult, despite how he has aged.

  He said he would fly to Miami and buy the cocaine from " a Colombia gentleman" named Jose Picardo; he described without objection "un africano" named Mike and two Dominican women paid $10,000 each to flying into Newark from the Dominican with heroin strapped to their bodies. The money to pay them exchanged hands in a restaurant on 155th Street and Edgecombe Avenue, "on the way to Yankee Stadium." Where the old Polo Grounds used to be...

   Earlier in the day there were hearsay objections made to Judge Castel which he took to the sidebar. The courtroom was relatively full, but apparently no media other than Inner City Press. The testimony was specific: the cocaine was driving from Texas to the Lodi NJ car mechanic shop owned by a man named Wilmer. The cocaine was welded into the floor of a truck. Roberto Acosta's cars all had traps for drugs, money and guns. The now old man was paid, not by the week, but by the job: how much was moved. He used his apartment in Yonkers and the parking place that came with it. Acosta recruited him in 1997, the year of the underlying murder, in La Estrella #2. The old man couldn't remember what kind of cell phone Acosta used in those days, only that it was small.  Back on March 14 NYPD Detective Ramirez described even older friction ridge characteristics of Robert Mojica going back to 1994 on Edgecombe Avenue in Upper Manhattan. At day's end, the lawyers fought about whether the co-conspirator exception to the hearsay rule exists even if the conspiracy at issue is not the one charged in the indictment (the government says yes). Judge Castel told the lawyers to try to re-acquaint themselves with their families over the (three day) weekend and he'll see them Monday. And Inner City Press as well. Earlier the defense, on cross examination, wondered why Ramirez was not being asked about the 1997 crimes. Judge Castel declared a break, during which he would meet with students of a lawyer who has appeared before him. A tray of bagels was rolled in. We'll have more on this trial. Back on March 8, another shooting in The Bronx in October 2018 was the subject of an ill-attended conference in the SDNY. Jerome Jackson is described as in a white t-shirt with silver handgun on 2 October 2018 on Freeman Street - but in the SDNY courtroom of Judge Kevin Castel he was in jail house blues and shackles. His lawyer Julia Gatto questioned whether the NYPD detectives who questioned Jackson about the shooting were in fact part of a joint task force with the Feds - no, Karin Potlock for the government said, and on that basis no suppression - and questioned probable cause. There will be a hearing on that on April Fools Day and Inner City Press aims to be there. The case is US v. Jackson, 18 CR 760. A week before on March 1 when Statue of Liberty climber Patricia Okoumou appeared in the SDNY , it was to face revocation of bail for more recent climbs, all to protest the separation of immigrant families. SDNY Judge Gorenstein did not revoke bail but imposed house arrest. He jibed that it appeared Ms. Okoumou could only support herself by donations garnered by climbing. Afterward Inner City Press asked her lawyer Ron Kuby about this argument. He said the judge has it precisely wrong, or in reverse: she raised money because she is an activist, she is not an actively in order to make money. Ms. Okoumou raised her fist, and headed to Staten Island. Photos here. Inner City Press, which interviewed Okoumou on December 5 just after another SDNY decision, in the Patrick Ho / CEFC China Energy UN bribery case, headed out and streamed this Periscope, and this Q&A, with more to come, on this case and others. How guns eject shell casings was the subject of expert testimony in a Bronx gang trial on February 27 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Before Judge Robert W. Sweet, an ATF agent traced a bullet back to Illinois; under cross examination he said a shell casing might eject feet rather than yards unless it bounced on something. Then testimony went back to 2007, a 14-year old with a gun heading from the Millbrook projects to the Mitchell Houses. The defense asked for a mistrial when the name of a second gang was introduced; the prosecution shot back (so to speak) that it came from photos on the defendant's own Facebook page. And so it goes in trials these days. Back on February 25 a prison sentence of life plus five years was imposed for a Bronx murder by SDNY Chief Judge Colleen McMahon on February 25. She presided over the trial in which Stiven Siri-Reynoso was convicted of, among other things, murder in aid of racketeering for the death of Jessica White, a 28 year old mother of three, in the Bronx in 2016. Jessica White's mother was in the court room; she was greeted by Judge McMahon but declined to speak before sentencing. Siri-Reynoso was representing himself by this point, with a back-up counsel by his side. Judge McMahon told him, "You're a very smart man... a tough guy, a calculating person... You are a coward, sent a child to do it for you... Your emissary shot the wrong person, a lovely lady... It was a vicious, evil attack against the good people of that neighborhood." When she imposed the life plus five sentence, a woman on the Jessica White side of the courtroom cried out, yes Ma'am, put the animal away! Later, after Siri-Reynoso ended asking how he can get more documents about the case, a woman on his side of the courtroom said, "No te preocupes, muchacho, Dios sabe lo que hace" - don't worry, God knows what he is doing. But does He? Earlier on February 25 when the government tried to defend its 2018 change of policy or practice on Special Immigrant Juvenile status in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge John G. Koeltl had many questions about the change. He asked, are you saying that all the decisions before 2018 were just wrong, under a policy in place but not implemented at the time? In the overflow courtroom 15C the largely young audience laughed, as the government lawyer tried to say it wasn't a change of policy but rather an agency interpretation of the statute. Shouldn't there have been notice and comment rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act? The government said the argument proffered for this was about the Freedom of Information Act (on which, as Inner City Press has noted, the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has similarly reversed its policy 180 degrees without justification). SDNY Judge Koeltl demanded t know if the government is arguing that no juvenile court in New York, California (and maybe Texas for other reasons he said) is empowered to grant relief. The answer was far from clear - but where the ruling is going does seem so. Watch this site. The Bangladeshi Central Bank which was hacked for $81 million in February 2016, on January 31 sued in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Now the first pre-trial conference in the case has been set, for 2 April 2019 before SDNY Judge Lorna G. Schofield. Inner City Press will be there.

In Dhaka, the Criminal Investigation Department which failed to submit its probe report into the heist on time has now been ordered by Metropolitan Magistrate Sadbir Yasir Ahsan Chowdhury to do so by March 13 in Bangladesh Bank cyber heist case.

In the U.S. District Court for Central California, the unsealed criminal complaint against Park Jin Hyuk lists four email addresses involved in spear-phishing Bangladesh Bank and among others an unnamed "African Bank;" one of these addresses is said to also have communicated with an individual in Australia about importing commodities to North Korea in violations of UN sanctions.

To the Federal Reserve, Inner City Press has requested records relating to the Fed's role with response due in 20 working days - watch this site. In the SDNY, the case is Bangladesh Bank v Rizal Commercial Banking Corp et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-00983. On February 3 in Dhaka Bangladesh Bank's lawyer Ajmalul Hossain said it could take three years to recover the money. The Bank's deputy governor Abu Hena Razee Hasan said those being accused -- in the civil not criminal suit -- include three Chinese nationals. Ajmalul Hossain said the Bank is seeking its hacked million plus interest and its expenses in the case. He said US Federal Reserve will extend its full support and that SWIFT, the international money transfer network, also assured of providing all the necessary cooperation in recovering the hacked money.  The Philippines returned $14.54 million in November 2016, so $66.46 million has yet to be retrieved. Now defendant RCBC Bank of the Philippines has hired the Quinn Emanuel law firm to defend it, and it already fighting back in words. RCBC’s lead counsel on the SDNY case, Tai-Heng Cheng, said:  “This is nothing more than a thinly veiled PR campaign disguised as a lawsuit. Based on what we have heard this suit is completely baseless. If the Bank of Bangladesh was serious about recovering the money, they would have pursued their claims three years ago and not wait until days before the statute of limitations. Not only are the allegations false, they don’t have the right to file here since none of the defendants are in the US." But it seems the funds were transferred to and through the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. And as Inner City Press reported in the US v. Patrick Ho case last year, the wiring of funds through New York can confer jurisdiction. Inner City Press will be covering this case. The first paragraph of the 103 page complaint reads, "This litigation involves a massive, multi-year conspiracy to carry out one of the largest banks heists in modern history right here in New York City. On February 4, 2016, thieves reached into a bank account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (“New York Fed”) and stole approximately $101 million (out of the nearly $1 billion they attempted to steal). The bank account was held for the benefit of Bangladesh Bank, which is Bangladesh’s Central Bank. Bangladesh Bank has had a 45-year banking relationship under which it has placed its international reserves with the New York Fed. The New York Fed is a critical component of the United States’ central banking system and its link to the international financial system." Bangladesh's lawyers on the case are "COZEN O’CONNOR John J. Sullivan, Esq.  Jesse Loffler, Esq. Yehudah Gordon, Esq." We'll have more on this.

Debaprasad Debnath, a general manager at the central bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit, Joint Director Mohammad Abdur Rab and Account and Budgeting Department General Manager Zakir Hossain all left Dhaka to head to New York, for the filing of the lawsuit, which Inner City Press will be following.

They say the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which on January 29 was instructed by the US State Department to allow Juan Guaido to access Venezuelan accounts, will be helping its Bangladeshi counterpart to get to the bottom of the hack.  Those eyed include Philippines’ Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation or RCBC and some of its officials, and Philrem Service Corporation, casino owners and beneficiaries. Ajmalul Hossain QC, a lawyer for the central bank, is with them to file the case.

It is an interesting twist on the SDNY as venue for the money laundering and FCPA prosecution of Patrick Ho of CEFC for bribery in Chad and to Uganda - in this case, too, the money flowed through New York. Inner City Press intends to cover the case.


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