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Pastor Lamor Whitehead Didn't Pay Lawyer After Arraigned on Superseder So He Is Out

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 1 -  In the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on the morning of December 19, 2022 the talk was of flashy pastor Lamor Whitehead, set to be presented in the afternoon.

Inner City Press was present, the only media in the Mag Court in the morning for three procedings. Related Mag Court live-tweeted thread (more on Patreon here) vlog here

   In EDNY earlier in the year, Inner City Press reported on Whitehead appearing in the Mag Court there for two defendants who robbed him of expensive watched as he preached.

Then Whitehead was indicted for defrauding a parishioner. Indictment on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud here.

On March 8, 2023 the US Attorney's Office unveiled a superseding indictment adding a fifth count of wire fraud concerning a $250,000 loan to "Anointing Management Services LLC" and mispresentations to lenders, by wires across state lines.

On March 17, back in the SDNY Magistrates Court where Inner City Press is often the only media, even only civilian, Whitehead was arraigned and pled not guilty: "Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker: Arraignment as to Lamor Whitehead (1) Count 1s,2s,3s,4s,5s held on 3/17/2023."

On April 28, Whitehead's lawyer Brian L. Ponder filed an affidavit seeking to withdraw, saying Whitehead "recently failed to pay my attorney's fees... and will not pay me on a forward going basis."

On May 1, Judge Schofield accepted Ponder's withdrawal: "Having considered the Motion for Brian L. Ponder, Esq. to withdraw as attorney of record in the above-captioned Action, and for good cause shown, the Motion for withdrawal of Brian L. Ponder, Esq. as attorney of record is GRANTED. (Signed by Judge Lorna G. Schofield on 5/1/2023)." Watch this site.

On January 17, 2023, Whitehead's counsel  filed a motion complaining about the US Attorney's statements, and quotes by "government agent" Brandon Belmonte in a New Yorker article (Inner City Press tweeted about the article as soon as it came out, here - the article also quoted Tekashi #6ix9ine whose cooperator's sentencing Inner City Press covered). 

On January 20, Judge Schofield denied a(nother) Whitehead motion: "Defendant's application is DENIED. Defendant has provided no authority for the proposition that he is entitled to a list of victims and witnesses before being required to comply with this condition of bail, nor any reason why he has unique difficulty in identifying victims and witnesses of the alleged crimes. The Government in substance has provided the identity of victims by confirming that Defendant currently is engaged in civil litigation against the only two victims listed in the Indictment. Defendant should contact Pre-trial Services in the first instance should he have difficulty complying with any bail condition. (Signed by Judge Lorna G. Schofield on 1/20/2023)." Watch this site.

At the presentment, Inner City Press was there

Magistrate Judge Gorenstein describes wire fraud and threat of force to obtain money from a Bronx business; also lie about not having a 2d cell phone. US agrees to $500,000 unsecured bond, a week for 2 signatures. Jersey travel allowed.

Asst US Attorney: He is to be released today on his own signature. Defense: He has never had a passport.

Afterward, Whitehead and his counsel waited on Worth Street apparently for a car while photographers snapped photos and asked questions; finally they went into a parking garage and emerged in different cars.

On December 22, Judge Schofield set the schedule, with a next proceeding: "Defendant's motion(s), if any, shall be filed by March 15, 2023. The Government's response, if any, shall be filed by March 29, 2023. Defendant's reply, if any, shall be filed by April 5, 2023. The parties shall appear for a status conference on April 11, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. (Signed by Judge Lorna G. Schofield on 12/22/2022)."

On December 23, Whitehead's lawyer Brian L. Ponder filed a notice of Whitehead's "Request to Be Tried Within the Time Frame of the Speedy Trial Act."

On December 27, Ponder filed again, this time a letter asking the prosecutors, "Does the government intend to serve a FRCrP 12/1 Notice of an Alibi Defense for any counts?"

On February 22, 2023, Judge Schofield denied a number of Whitehead's motions: "ORDER as to Lamor Whitehead. WHEREAS, on January 17, 18, 19 and 20, 2023, Defendant Lamor Whitehead filed the following four motions, respectively: (1) an "emergency" motion for a special order pursuant to Local Criminal Rule 23.1(h), (2) a motion to identify witnesses with juvenile adjudications and pending juvenile proceedings and to inspect juvenile files, (3) a motion for notice by the Government pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12 of its intention to use specific evidence arguably subject to suppression and (4) a motion for pretrial production of evidence admissible to attack the credibility of Brandon Belmonte; WHEREAS, pursuant to the Order dated January 20, 2023, the Government filed a response in opposition to each of the above motions on February 3, 2023; WHEREAS, Defendant did not file a reply before the deadline of February 10, 2023. It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant's motions are resolved as follows: 1. Defendant's January 17, 2023, motion for a special order pursuant to Local Criminal Rule 23.1 is DENIED. Local Criminal Rule 23.1(a) prohibits lawyers as well as "government agents" from "release[ing] or authoriz[ing] the release of non-public information or opinion" to the public, "in connection with pending or imminent criminal litigation with which they are associated, if there is a substantial likelihood that such dissemination will interfere with a fair trial or otherwise prejudice the due administration of justice." Rule 23.1(h) provides that courts may issue "special order[s] governing such matters as extrajudicial statements by parties and witnesses likely to interfere with the rights of the accused." Rule 23.1(h) requires that, in doing so, a court "shall consider whether such an order will be necessary to ensure an impartial jury and must find that other, less extreme available remedies, singly or collectively, are not feasible or would not effectively mitigate the pretrial publicity and bring about a fair trial." Defendant seeks relief based on statements made in a press release announcing his arrest by U.S. Attorney Damian Williams and FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll, and by a private individual named Brandon Belmonte. None of the relief Defendant seeks is necessary to prevent any of those individuals' past or future statements from infringing Defendant's right to a fair trial as explained below...... 2. Defendant's January 18, 2023, motion to identify witnesses with juvenileadjudications and pending juvenile proceedings and to inspect juvenile files is DENIED..... 3. Defendant's January 19, 2023, motion for notice by the Government pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12 of its intention to use specific evidence arguably subject to suppression is DENIED... 4. Defendant's January 20, 2023, motion for pretrial production of evidence admissible to attack the credibility of Brandon Belmonte is DENIED as moot based on the Government's representation that it does not intend to call Belmonte as a witness or offer any of his statements for the truth of the matter asserted.... (Signed by Judge Lorna G. Schofield on 2/22/2023)." We'll have more on this.

The case is US v. Whitehead, 22-cr-692 (Schofield)



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