Saturday, February 28, 2015


The Downtown Post Feb 28th

inside and out 
Mohamed Salameh, driver of the van when the World Trade Center was bombed on Feb. 26, 1993, at his arraignment. (Drawing by Elizabeth Williams)

Feb. 26, 1993 is a day that courtroom artist and Lower Manhattan resident Elizabeth Williams will not forget. As she recounted in her blog, "Illustrated Courtroom," "I was in the World Trade Center concourse purchasing tickets to 'Jelly's Last Jam' at the TKTS stand. I strolled my then 1-year-old son over the World Trade Center pass to the World Financial Center, where we sat down. Then about 10 minutes later a huge, booming sound rocked the glass-covered space where I was seated. The people in the atrium stopped talking, looked up, saw no glass was broken and then continued their conversations. I recall a security officer running up the Winter Garden stairs. No one knew what had happened and terrorism was the last thing on anyone's mind. Then the smoke started pouring out of the garage of the World Trade Center and chaos ensued."

About a week later, Williams said, she received a call late at night telling her to run over to the Federal courthouse. "I packed up my art supplies and learned that the FBI had determined who was responsible for the bombing and had made their first arrest - Mohamed Salameh - a Palestinian illegal alien who was the driver of the van. I recall he was very angry during his arraignment and I felt it was important to capture that."

Williams' drawing of Salameh made the cover of Newsday the next day.

"Many people have already forgotten about that attack," Williams said. "Now, I think to myself how lucky it was that no glass from the Winter Garden ceiling came loose and fell down. Many people - including my son and me - could have been hurt or killed. Trust me, the whole place shook. It was downright scary."

Like many people who were directly affected by the World Trade Center bombings, Williams has lived with an increased sense of vulnerability since then. "Life has really never been the same since," she said, "especially in New York City."

Williams is co-author with Sue Russell of "The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art," published in 2014. It was designated a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year and won kudoes from Kirkus as one of the best books of 2014. Williams' drawing of the Salameh arraignment appears in the book along with some additional information about his trial.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Also a story about NYPD police officer 
Detective James Rudolph 
NY Press article excerpt about the 93 bombing 
But the attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and 2001 were what really made him understand what being a hero meant. "In 1993, [I was] on foot patrol, that afternoon, when we responded," Rudolph said. "There was a big boom that was heard all over Manhattan. We responded to the Trade Center and we were notified that someone from the Fire Department had fallen through a large crater and the mezzanine level into the garage area. So my partner and I helped carry all the equipment into the garage, which was all pancaked. We were standing in knee-deep water to try and rescue a [firefighter] out from under the debris. We [got him] out of there and just continued about the day. - 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

No prison for key informant in major insider trading case: Thomas Hardin sentencing

NEW YORK (AP) — A former hedge fund manager who wore a wire to help prosecutors build a massive insider trading case was spared a prison sentence Wednesday after the government called his cooperation extraordinary.
Nearly seven years after Thomas Hardin started aiding what became one of the nation's biggest insider trading investigations, he called his prior conduct "reckless, selfish and inexcusable" as he was sentenced to time served — a brief period he was in custody before an initial court date years ago.
Thomas Hardin, far left standing during sentencing with his attorneys Kimberly Yuhas and Larry Krantz
"I'm incredibly humbled and ashamed," he said. "I've done my best to make amends by helping the U.S. government."
Hardin pleaded guilty in 2009 to conspiracy and securities fraud. He made his former firm more than $1 million by trading on secret information about such companies as Google Inc. and Hilton Worldwide, and he passed the tips to other traders who profited off them, Manhattan federal prosecutors said in sentencing papers.

Brooklyn Men Arrested on ISIL-Support Charges: Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, Akhror Saidakhmetov

Courthouse News Service
BROOKLYN (CN) - Three Brooklyn residents will appear before federal judges Wednesday on charges of conspiring to support the terrorist group ISIL.
     The complaint unsealed today targets three defendants - Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, Akhror Saidakhmetov and Abror Habibov - for alleged attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
     U.S. Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom will preside over the initial appearances of Juraboev and Saidakhmetov in Brooklyn, while Habibov is scheduled to appear in before a Jacksonville, Fla., federal judge later today.
     Prosecutors say investigators caught wind of Juraboev, whom they describe as a 24-year-old Uzbeki national living in Brooklyn, because of posts he made on an Uzbek-language website that propagates ISIL's ideology.
Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, Akhror Saidakhmetov arraignment by Victor Juhasz 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sokolow v PLO/PA: Jury Awards $218.5 Million in Terrorism Case Against Palestinian Groups: NY Times

NY Times article by Ben Weiser
The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization were found liable on Monday by a jury in Manhattan for their role in knowingly supporting six terrorist attacks in Israel between 2002 and 2004 in which Americans were killed and injured.
The jury in Federal District Court in Manhattan awarded $218.5 million in damages, a number that is automatically tripled to $655.5 million under the special terrorism law under which the case was brought.
The verdict ended a decade-long legal battle to hold the Palestinian organizations responsible for the terrorist acts. And while the decision was a huge victory for the dozens of plaintiffs, it also could serve to strengthen the Israeli claim that the supposedly more moderate Palestinian forces are directly tied to terrorism.
Artwork by Elizabeth Williams
Kent Yalowitz, the attorney representing 10 families gives closing statement to jury
with image of Yassar Arafat on the screen 

Mark Rochon, a lawyer for the PLO and the Palestinian Authority give closing statement to jury
The financial implications of the verdict for the defendants were not immediately clear. The Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, had serious financial troubles even before Israel, as punishment for the Palestinians’ move in December to join the International Criminal Court, began withholding more than $100 million a month in tax revenue it collects on the Palestinians’ behalf.
The verdict came in the seventh week of a civil trial in which the jury had heard emotional testimony from survivors of suicide bombings and other attacks in Jerusalem, in which a total of 33 people were killed and more than 450 were injured.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2nd Phase Of Jury Selection In Aurora Theater Shooting Trial Focuses On Insanity, Death Penalty « CBS Denver

2nd Phase Of Jury Selection In Aurora Theater Shooting Trial Focuses On Insanity, Death Penalty « CBS Denver
Artwork by Bill Robles
Wide shot of courtroom during jury selection by Bill Robles
Jury selection in the Aurora Theater Shooting trial has entered its second phase as attorneys began questioning potential jurors individually.
James Holmes with glasses drawn by Bill Robles
 Six prospective jurors were brought into the courtroom Wednesday morning where they were questioned one at a time.Attorneys are questioning the potential jurors in four areas, publicity, the hardship they may face, the insanity defense and the death penalty.
Profile of Holmes by Bill Robles. Bill noticed that Holmes had put on weight since he last saw him. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Etan Patz Murder trial: Defendant Pedro Hernandez confession tape


Associated Press story by Colleen Long

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jurors watched intently Tuesday as a videotaped confession of a man who said he killed 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979 played during the suspect's murder trial.
Pedro Hernandez, of Maple Shade, New Jersey, admitted in hours of video to choking Etan, shoving his body in a plastic bag and dumping it with some curbside trash a few blocks away. His attorney maintains that the confession is fiction, dreamed up by a mentally ill man.
"I was nervous. My legs were jumping. I wanted to let go, but I just couldn't let go. I felt like something just took over me," Hernandez said in the video. "I don't know what to say. Something just took over me, and I was just choking him."
Pedro Hernandez far right looks at his video taped confession describing
how he allegedly killed Etan Patz by strangling him
Hernandez was a teenage stock clerk at a convenience store a few blocks from where Etan was last seen on his way to school on May 25, 1979. It was Etan's first time walking to school alone.
"I don't know why I came up to him," Hernandez says on the tape, calmly. "I just approached to him, and I asked him: `You want a soda?' He didn't say nothing to me, even when I was choking him. He didn't kick. He didn't do nothing. He just kind of stood there, and I just felt bad what I did."

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Recapping The Silk Road Trial: words and images

from Tech Crunch by John Bush
Cold winds and snow buffeted the walls of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse last week as jurors heard more of the Government’s case in the Silk Road Marketplace trial against Ross WIlliam Ulbricht.
Ulbricht is being prosecuted for creating the Silk Road Marketplace and allegedly facilitating the purchase and sale of illicit goods and drugs.
In week three of the trial, the jury learned how a google search led the IRS to Ross Ulbricht and how activities referenced in Ulbricht’s personal emails were also found in private chats between Silk Road’s main administrator, Dread Pirate Roberts, and his associates. 

Ross William Ulbricht during opening statements 

Defense Attorney Joshua Dratel gives opening statement

On the final day of week three proceedings, the jury heard from former FBI Agent, Ilhwan Yum about the results of a bitcoin transaction analysis he conducted on Bitcoin wallets found on Silk Road servers and Ulbricht’s seized laptop.  Yum, who played a major role in the seizure of Silk Road’s servers, found a total of 2,105,127 bitcoin addresses on Silk Road servers and 11,135 on Ulbricht’s laptop.
 Former FBI Agent, Ilhwan Yum testifies about the results of a Bitcoin transaction analysis he conducted on Bitcoin wallets found on Silk Road servers and Ulbricht’s seized laptop

He then conducted an analysis on transactions sent from Silk Road wallets to bitcoin addresses on Ulbricht’s computer.  Yum found that there were just under 4,000 transaction originating with Silk Road wallets and sent to wallets found on Ulbricht’s laptop.  These transactions totaled 700,254 bitcoins ($13,359,552 when averaging bitcoin price over the duration of the bitcoin transfers).

FBI consultant Brian Shaw introduces material found on
Ulbrichts' computer including chats about a murder for hire plot.
 The Murder For Hire Plot Rears It’s Ugly Head
Before proceedings ended on Thursday, the Government began telling the story of Dread Pirate Roberts’ alleged murder-for-hire plot.  The Prosecution shared a string of messages between DPR and the apparent hitman that began following DPR’s receipt of threats to reveal thousands of Silk Road user identities.  In response to receiving the threats, DPR reached out to the supplier who was said to have been owed the $500,000 bounty from the original threat.  The supplier, who used username “redandwhite” was then hired to kill “FriendlyChemist” before he revealed any information that could damage Silk Road.  The jury heard a message from Dread Pirate Roberts to “redandwhite” that read, “In my eyes, FriendlyChemist is a liability and I wouldn’t mind if he was executed”.

Defendant Ross Ulbricht during murder for hire testimony with quote on screen:
" commissioned hit on black mailer with Hells Angels"

AUSA Serrin Turner gives closing statement

AUSA Timothy Howard give closing rebuttal statement.

Verdict story by Kara Scannelli of the

The jury took fewer than four hours to convict Ross Ulbricht, the creator of Silk Road, of running a multimillion-dollar drug-trafficking operation from his laptop computer.
Ulbricht, 30, was convicted on all seven counts related to the trafficking and faces 20 years to life in prison when he is sentenced in May.

Wide shot with courtroom deputy Joseph Pecorino  reading guilty verdict

Family reaction to verdict with Ulbricht looking around to see his family.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Etan Patz murder trial begins 35 years after 'milk carton boy' disappeared

Etan Patz murder trial begins 35 years after 'milk carton boy' disappeared 


Decades after New York boy went missing on his way to school, ushering in an anxious new world for American parents, his alleged killer goes on trial

The courtroom in the New York supreme court, located just a mile from the Soho neighborhood where Patz went missing, was packed throughout the dramatic account. It was the opening gambit in a trial that prosecutors hope will finally bring resolution to a case that has foiled the city for almost four decades.
Wide shot of the courtroom with image on the screen of the bodega as it was in 1979 when Patz went missing. Hernandez allegedly killed Patz in the basement of the bodega, luring him in with the promise of a soda.  

Assistant DA Joan Illuzzi  Orbon gives opening statement in Manhattan Criminal Court. 
Assistant district attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon pointed to the defendant, Pedro Hernandez, who sat motionless a few feet away from her. As Stan Patz, the boy’s father, listened intently, she told the jury what Hernandez himself had said to detectives in a videotaped interview two years ago.

Hernandez, who is border line schizophrenic and retarded,  is brought into court handcuffed, the court officer removes the cuffs before the jury comes into court.