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Venezuelan Narco Orense Says Brady Violated Citing 2019 Decline of Prosecution Nov 27 Trial

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

SDNY COURT Scoop, Nov 25 – Venezuelan indicted narco-trafficker Carlos Orense Azocar was presented in Magistrates Court in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on June 23, 2023 and Inner City Press was (the only media) there. 

 Orense had just been extradited in from Italy and the indictment against him unsealed. He was bought into the courtroom by two U.S. Marshals, in a green T-shirt and a shaved head with deep lines in it, at least in the back.  

SDNY Magistrate Judge Valerie Figueredo reviewed the financial affidavit that Azocar signed and submitted and appointed him publicly-paid Criminal Justice Act counsel. 

 (Given his resources, Inner City Press has already filed to have unsealed his financial affidavit, as it won in the recent narco case of Honduras' Tigre Bonilla).  

 Orense pled not guilty and consented to detention. The case was wheeled out and assigned to District Judge Vernon S. Broderick.

  On November 14, Inner City Press covered the final pre-trial conference before Judge Broderick. Orense was not there. Thread.

On November 25, Black Friday, Orense's counsel alleged Brady violations, writing that "The government has produced a January 8, 2019 email between Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Brian Whitworth and Assistant United States Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez of the Southern District of Florida, in which SA Whitworth wrote at 2:11pm,”Per our conversation please respond to me regarding the decline of prosecution for Orense.” AUSA Gonzalez replied at 2:51pm, “For all the 1 See Exhibit A: June 23, 2022 Order. 2 DEA 6 reports, notes, audio recordings, video recordings, sworn testimony, court findings, etc. Case 1:21-cr-00379-VSB Document 52 Filed 11/25/23 Page 1 of 3 FOY & SEPLOWITZ LLC Attorneys at Law Page 2 reasons we discussed concerning witness credibility and availability, we cannot go forward with the case.” On November 19, 2023, through counsel the defendant made the following formal request to the government via email, “Please provide all [ ] the reasons that were discussed regarding witness credibility and availability that led to the decision to decline to prosecute Orense on or about January 8, 2019. " Today at approximately 12:55pm, we conducted a telephone conference with the government in an attempt to work through this issue and other trial related matters... The government’s response to the defense was they have fulfilled their legal obligations and suggested we take this issue up with the court should we be dissatisfied with their answer." Hence, the letter motion, returnable 9:15 am Monday...

Back in June Inner City Press immediately wrote to Magistrate Judge Figueredo to unseal, and was told told to file by ECF. But that is not possible unless one is listed as a filer in the case. Inner City Press requested that to Magistrate Judge Figueredo's chambers then those of Judge Broderick. On July 5, the request to unseal was docketed, here

On July 7, 2022 Judge Broderick granted Inner City Press' request to unseal, put into a minute order: " the Court grants the request addressed in the order at docket no. 10, to unseal the financial affidavit and information of Defendant, Carlos Orense Azoca ."

But as of November 25, the financial affidavit (Docket 7) was still sealed, its link not live on PACER.

 But the transcript of July 7 is available, including:

THE COURT: The next thing I'm going to address is I received from Inner City Press a request for the financial affidavit...

MR. FOY: ...The person who made the application was presented when I explained why there wasn't much information included.

AUSA WIRSHBA: The government takes no position on the application.

THE COURT: I'm going to direct that the financial affidavit be unsealed. To the extent that the Inner City Press, that Mr. Lee - since it sound like he's already aware of the comments about it, I'm going to unseal it, and I'll see the parties on August 22.

Inner City Press will continue covering the case - and the request(s).

The case is US v. Azocar, 21-cr-379 (Broderick)


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