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Etoty Charged With False Passport Application Voted in NY After Mistrial now Nolle Prosequi

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 22 – Paulette Etoty applied for a U.S. passport, saying she was born in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. But it seems she's from Nigeria.  

Now a trial approaches on July 13 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein.

 Inner City Press which has filed with Judge Hellerstein for unsealing of judicial documents, is following the case.

  It was in April 2018 that Etoty applied, in New York. She asked for more time in May 2018. But in June 2013 she had been found by an Immigration Judge to be a native and citizen of Nigeria, and ordered removed.  

Federal Defenders, representing Etoty, now argue to preclude the government's witness from testifying that Ms. Etoty has a Nigerian accent - and that Etoty voted in New York in 2016.

  On July 7, the US Attorney's Office applied for permission to add a third charge, false statement for SSI. But after Federal Defenders' opposition, Judge Hellerstein denied the government saying an adjournment would burden the court and prejudice Etoty's speed trial rights.

On July 12, stipulations were filed, along with transcripts of conversations between Paulette Etoty and Renee Etoty, the former saying, "I think I have something to do with Nigeria, but I don't think I'm born in Nigeria. I don't even know where I'm from to be honest."

On July 21, the jury returned with notes that it could not reach a decision. Etoty's Federal Defenders, their first motion for a mistrial denied, proposed their own Allen charge.

Then this: "Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein: Jury Trial as to Paulette Etoty held on 7/22/2021. Trial cont'd. Jury unable to come to a unanimous decision; Motion for mistrial is granted; Trial completed."

On August 3, a superseding indictment by the grand jury on three counts: False Statement in Application for Passport; False Statement in Voter Registration; and False Statements."

And now on September 17, the case pushed back into 2022: "The pretrial conference previously scheduled for September 23, 2021 is hereby adjourned and time is excluded until January... "

Now, the re-trial is set for February 13: "Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, Pretrial Conference as to Paulette Etoty held on 1/18/2022. Trial set for 2/13/23 at 10:00 a.m.; FPTC is set for 2/8/23 at 2:30 p.m; Time excluded until 2/13/23; in the interest of justice; Deft. cont'd. on bail."

On September 15, the US Attorney's Office asked to delay the retrial from February 13, 2023 to June 12, 2023 due amother other reasons to "other trials" scheduled for early 2023.

Judge Hellerstein first pushed it back to June 7, 2023 - then on March 7, with nothing new in the docket, pushed it all the way to February 21, 2024.

On January 22, 2024, the charged were dropped: "NOLLE PROSEQUI ENTERED as to Paulette Etoty. Paulette Etoty (1) Count 1s,1ss,1,2s,2ss,3ss. SO ORDERED: (Signed by Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein on 1/22/2024)."

The case is US v. Etoty, 20-cr-187 (Hellerstein)


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