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Coronavirus Stay In Sex Trafficking Trial Inner City Press Fought To Cover No Notice of Proceeding

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon
BBC - Decrypt - LightRead - Honduras - Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 17 – In the sex trafficking trial of US v. Carl Andrews that Inner City Press has been reporting on despite a partially sealed courtroom and US Attorney for the SDNY withholding of exhibits, the defense on March 14 asked for a stay of the trial.

The reason? Coronavirus COVID-19.

  On the morning on March 17 Inner City Press went to SDNY Judge Paul A. Engelmayer's courtroom to see how he would rule. But the door was locked. There had been a conference on March 16, of which no public notice had been given, and the trial had been stayed.

 In a response filed past 9 pm on March 14, Assistant US Attorney Daniel Wolf had in a footnote revealed that "earlier today a Special Agent of the Office was informed that he tested positive for COVID-19." Filing and more on Patreon here.

Beyond the impact on the already partially sealed trial, how might this impact the US Attorney's Office other cases and (lack of) transparency in the SDNY? Inner City Press is on the case.

   As Inner City Press reported, Chief Judge Colleen McMahon ordered that while upcoming trials should be postponed at least through April 27, already underway trials would continue. Now this - while the US Attorney's Office Press Office did not, respond to Inner City Press' written request for the exhibit that Judge Paul A. Engelmayer ruled Inner City Press should get.

  Past 9 pm on March 14, Assistant US Attorney Daniel Wolf replied opposing any stay, acknowledging the positive test of a US Attorney's Office security officer about whom the US Attorney's Office Press Office refused to answer Inner City Press' question on March 13 - and revealing that a Special Agent has tested positive: "The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York learned last Thursday that a special security officer (“SSO”) assigned to the Office tested positive for COVID-19, and earlier today a Special Agent of the Office was informed that he tested positive for COVID-19. Those assigned to the trial team for the Government have not had any known contact with the SSO or Special Agent, and common areas at the Office have undergone sustained deep cleaning and sterilization in recent days. For the avoidance of doubt, no one on the trial team for the Government is exhibiting any symptoms associated with COVID-19... As a result of the Chief Judge’s Order, there will be substantially fewer people present in the Courthouse this week. Finally, the Government opposes any additional voir dire relating to jurors’ specific views of COVID-19. The jurors have already been asked to commit to being impartial and taken an oath expressing that commitment. In addition, the Court has made abundantly clear to the parties and jurors its attention to the risks of COVID-19 and no juror has expressed any concern. There is no reason to take measures beyond those that have already been taken. For all of these reasons, the Government opposes the defendant’s request for a stay or, in the alternative, additional voir dire." We'll have more on this.


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