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In Fentanyl Death Trial of Billy Ortega Guilty So Sentencing June 2 with 25 Year Minimum

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book

SDNY COURTROOM EXCLUSIVE, Jan 30 -  In the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on December 16, 2022 Billy Ortega was brought in by US Marshals and pleaded not guilty to his role in the death by fentanyl laced cocaine of Julia Ghahramani, 26, a first-year lawyer at Akin Gump, Ross Mtangi, 40, a trading executive at Credit Suisse Group AG, and Amanda Scher, 36, a social worker.

  There were four family members in the gallery, where Inner City Press was the only media.

   District Judge Ronnie Abrams asked about recently provided discovery, in advance of the trial scheduled for January 18. The Assistant US Attorney replied that some phones had only recently been accessed; there are many text messages on them.

The defendant's opening argument on January 19 triggered a US Attorney's Office request for a curative instruction - and their request to unseal Ortega's CJA affidavit, citing Inner City Press' win in US v. Avenatti, 550 F. Supp. 3d 36 (SDNY 2021). Meanwhile the same Office is consenting by taking no position to the secrecy of Sam Bankman-Fried's co-signers.

The trial ended on January 30 before noon with a verdict of guilty on all counts. Judge Abrams asked everyone to stand out of respect for the jury. Everyone did - except Billy Ortega. He is set to be sentenced on June 2 at 11 am, with a 25 year mandatory minimum. There will be a Rule 29 motion for acquittal. Inner City Press will stay on the case.


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