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Saipov Trial Day 2 Has Victims and Juror Questions as DOJ Seeks Execution on 28 Counts

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 10 - Sayfullo Saipov is now in a trial that may result in the death penalty for killing eight people with a van along the West Side Highway.

  On May 4, 2022 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Vernon S. Broderick held a conference on the case and Inner City Press live tweet it here and below.

On January 6, 2023 after a long jury selection that Inner City Press covered, some below, Judge Broderick confirmed that the trial would start January 9. And it did.

On January 9, 2023, Inner City Press was presented and live tweeted, thread here.

On January 10, 2023, witnesses from families run down by Saipov testified, with interpreters, and the day ended with a video of Home Depot. One juror wants to ask questions about Saipov' driver's license, another if he is an alternate. Inner City Press was there, thread here:

OK - now Day 2 of death penalty trial of US v. Saipov, jury called in more than an hour late (they had questions). 

Day's 1st witness is Joanna Maroudas, FBI Special Agent for 19 years. Did post arrest interview of Saipov.

Maroudas: He is wearing a green top, at back table

AUSA: Did he tell you what he had done?

 Maroudas: He rented a truck to kill people.

 Maroudas: He said Abu Bakr al Baghdadi told him to conduct the attack. He's the former leader of ISIS.

AUSA: Where did the interview take place?

Maroudas: In Bellevue Hospital. He asked to hang the ISIS flag. He smiled.

Now cross-examination of FBI's Maroudas by Federal Defender Sylvie Levine.

FD Levine: Mr. Saipov gave you consent to search his phones?

Maroudas: Yes. I started going through it right then.

FD: He answered all of your questions?

Maroudas: Most of them. Not all.

 Next witness is from tourist group, with interpreter, that along with visiting Top of the Rock(efeller Center) and, ironically, the site of 9/11/01, rented bikes from Blazing Saddles and biked down perimeter of Manhattan, 9A. Judge Broderick calls the lunch break

Saipov's Federal Defenders [wisely] decide not to cross examine the first victim-family witness. Next US witness is also from Belgium.

She says: I traveled to New York with my mom and my two sisters. On October 28. We rented bicycles from Blazing Saddles. 

Witness: The truck was red and black. My sister was screaming (sobs). I turned around and saw her lying next to her bicycle. She was unconscious and there was blood coming out of her nose and mouth. I tried to remember a first aid course I took.

[Again, no cross]

Saipov trial day ends with video of Home Depot (we hope to get that and other videos soon) - Judge Broderick tells jurors not to Google or talk to anyone about the case. Once they leave, he asks about Juror 531 who wants to know if he is an alternate

On October 13, 2022 Saipov's Federal Defenders wrote to object to any disqualification of anti death penalty jurors, focusing on Juror 17 who cited his religious opposition to the death penalty. They argue that exclusion would violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Inclusion would guarantee no death penalty imposed.

On December 20, Saipov's Federal Defenders objected to the US Attorney's Office using 14 of its 20 peremptory strikes... against women.

On December 22, the US struck back, pointing out that Team Saipov used 12 of its 20 peremptories against women, "the defendants Batson challenge may be rejected on that ground alone."

On Friday, December 23, Judge Broderick continued jury selection. Inner City Press live tweeted, thread here:

OK- Now again in US v Saipov death penalty eligible case jury selection, Dec 23 past 4 pm. Judge Broderick says trial will start Jan 9, and run to end of March.

Juror 707 has a ticket to Jamaica March 23, heading down to email it to court. Juror 707 has returned and is being excused, as is Juror 713 who answered "N/A" on questionnaire when asked for views on the death penalty.

It's past 5 pm, with jurors 714 and 720 still to be questioned, 723, 724 and 732 to be told to return another day. Questionnaire was in August, then fot a Jan 3 trial. Now with jury selection still not over, so trial pushed to Jan 9.

 Juror 714 has said that as a Catholic she is against the death penalty, favor life imprisonment, and would only vote for that. She will be questioned 10 or 25 more minutes: 720 is being sent home after waiting for a long time

Juror 714: I would not want to carry the burden of having voted to impose the death penalty. Federal Defenders still want her, it seems. But juror 714 is struck for cause. And juror 720 cried before she left. Adjourned.

  Meanwhile, the Federal Defenders filed a letter complaining about the halal meals in the MDC - just peanut butter and jelly - and asking for FD to feed Saipov lunch during the trial.

On January 3, 2023, while the Federal Defenders motion for a prayer rug protocol was approved, individual voir dire continued, and Inner City Press was there, the only media in the courtroom:

OK- Now again in US v Saipov death penalty eligible case jury selection, Jan 3.  Juror 764 says Middle East is "tribes." US wanted more questions, but juror is qualified. Is told not to Google "mitigating factors."

Questioning began of Juror 664 but will continue; there will be rulings on Jurors 360, 224 and 380 (in writing) and 648, orally.

On January 4, questioning of juror 780 was put over to January 5, when lead defense counsel will not be present. Judge Broderick, citing the need for US Marshals to search through food, denied the Federal Defenders' halal lunch motion. But there will apparently be an ex parte / sealed letter on the topic.

  Judge Broderick said an order would issue that night or the next day about the overflow courtroom and logistics. He questioned whether the statute is about victims being in the courtroom itself, and not any overflow. A concern was expressed about victims sitting in what was referred to as the press box.

We'll have more on this.

The case is US v. Saipov, 17-cr-722 (Broderick)



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