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Man Charged For Gun in The Bronx Gets No Cooperation Deal So April Trial, New Lawyer

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Feb 11 – Johnny De Los Santos was arrested in December 2020 and Federally charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, after dispute in a grocery store on Teller Avenue in the South Bronx.

  With a retained lawyer, De Los Santos in August 2021 was informed that he faced trial on February 14, 2022, before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Paul G. Gardephe.  

   Days before trial, a proceeding listed as change of plea (to guilty) was listed in the docket and a proceeding scheduled for 3 pm on February 10. Inner City Press covered it.

  But De Los Santos did not want to plead guilty. He wanted to fire his lawyer, who he said he told him he would be getting a 5K1 cooperator's letter from the US Attorney's Office.

   The AUSA said the Office does not want or need De Los Santos as a cooperator; there will be no motion Section 5K1. Now what? 

 Judge Gardephe said that while he understood, he could not allow De Los Santos to manipulate his trial calendar, particularly given COVID related restrictions in the courthouse. These are the courts amid COVID.

De Los Santos said he had spoken to another lawyer. 

 Who, Judge Gardephe asked.

   De Los Santos spelled a name out, in Spanish. (Inner City Press noticed that several of the letters were off.) Judge Gardephe said he could not find this lawyer on the Internet. De Los Santos said, But I found him on Google! 

 Finally the Long Island based firm was identified. Judge Gardephe asked that the proprietor be on another conference about the case on February 11.

  Inner City Press was there on February 11 and live tweeted, here:

Judge Gardephe: It has become clear that Mr. De Los Santos will not be receiving a cooperation deal. He must prepare for trial. We have only five or so COVID-compliant courtrooms available for 30 plus judges.

Judge Gardephe: It is incredibly disruptive for a defendant to tell me, three days before trial, that he wants a different lawyer. Mr. Perini, what is your status with Mr. De Los Santos?

Perini: I met with him on Feb 9, we met about his case. No way I can prepare in 3 days

Judge Gardephe: So the only obstacle for you in the trial date? It's a one-count felon in possession case - how long would you need?

 Perini: Two weeks to a month.

Judge Gardephe: The reservations have been made for the first quarter of this year. I'll have to ask the Committee. I have a civil trial April 4 - we could try that date. I'll adjourn until that to permit Mr. Perini to come in. Adjourned.

 Inner City Press will continue to cover the case.

 It is US v. De Los Santos, 21-cr-130 (Gardephe) 


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