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J7QTABD1 Fatico Hearing


2 ------------------------------x


4 v. 14 CR 716 (VM)


New York, N.Y.
9 July 26, 2019
9:20 a.m.

11 Before:


13 District Judge

16 United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York
Assistant United States Attorneys
20 Attorneys for Defendant B. Abdalla


Attorneys for Defendant I. Abdalla
ALSO PRESENT: Paralegal Specialist Morgan Hurst
25 DEA Special Agent James Stouch


(212) 805-0300

1 THE COURT: This is a proceeding in the matter of

2 United States v. Abdalla. It's Docket No. 14 CR 716.

3 Counsel, please state your appearances.

4 MS. HOULE: Good morning. Amanda Houle, Emil Bove,

5 and Jason Richman for the government. With us is a paralegal

6 specialist from our office, Morgan Hurst, and DEA Special Agent

7 James Stouch.

8 THE COURT: Good morning.

9 MR. GOLTZER: Good morning again, your Honor, George

10 Goltzer and Ying Stafford on behalf of Baktash Abdalla, who is

11 present.

12 MS. CARDI: Dawn Cardi and Diane Ferrone on behalf of

13 Ibrahim Abdalla, who is to our left.

14 THE COURT: Good morning, welcome back. We're

15 resuming the Fatico hearing which we adjourned yesterday

16 following the conclusion of the cross-examination Ms. Houle.

17 Does the government have redirect?

18 MS. HOULE: Very briefly, your Honor.

19 THE COURT: Please call in the witness.

20 MS. HOULE: Thank you, your Honor.

21 MR. GOLTZER: While we are waiting for the witness,

22 may I make a brief application in connection with the

23 examination?

24 THE COURT: Yes.

25 MR. GOLTZER: Yesterday there were several instances


(212) 805-0300

1 when counsel for the co-defendant, Ms. Cardi, asked certain

2 questions about prior inconsistent statements. Under Brady v.

3 Maryland, because this is a Fatico hearing involving potential

4 aggravation of mitigation of punishment, we ask the Court to

5 direct the government to provide the defense with any

6 statements that they know are inconsistent or impeach this

7 witness's credibility with respect to the omission of critical

8 statements from prior interviews with the agent.

9 The government would know whether anything that the

10 witness said under oath is inaccurate, and we believe it is

11 their ethical obligation to advise the Court and the defense,

12 if that is the case, and the specifics. So that is my

13 application under the due process clause of the United States

14 Constitution, Brady v. Maryland, and its progeny. Thank you.

15 THE COURT: Ms. Houle?

16 MS. HOULE: Your Honor, the defense has all of the

17 witness's 3500 material. They have in fact had it since

18 October of last year. The government is otherwise in

19 compliance with its Brady obligations.

20 MR. GOLTZER: There's no dispute that we had most of

21 the 3500 material for a great deal of time and went through it

22 in preparation for trial. But there's been a radical change in

23 circumstances since this particular witness, who is now present

24 in court, made statements under oath yesterday, and the

25 government is aware that several of those were attempted to be


(212) 805-0300
J7QTABD1 Goswami - Redirect

1 impeached by my learned co-counsel by omission. And the

2 government is the only person that would know through its

3 agents and through the assistant U.S. attorneys who were

4 present whether the witness's answers yesterday were accurate

5 in terms of whether or not he always told people about things

6 that did not appear in the reports.

7 THE COURT: Thank you. Let's proceed with the

8 witness's statement, Ms. Houle.

9 MR. GOLTZER: Is there no ruling, most respectfully?

10 Because I can't make a record without a ruling.

11 MS. CARDI: Just for the record, I join that motion.

12 MS. HOULE: Your Honor, just to be clear, we believe

13 that the witness testified truthfully yesterday.

14 THE COURT: All right. The Court denies the

15 application. I will set forth at least some indications of the

16 Court's rationale subsequently.

17 MS. HOULE: May I proceed, your Honor?

18 THE COURT: Yes.

19 VIJAY GOSWAMI, (Continued)

20 having been previously sworn, testified as follows:



23 Q. Mr. Goswami, you were asked some questions yesterday by

24 Ms. Cardi regarding New Year's Eve 2016, do you recall that?

25 A. Yes.


(212) 805-0300
J7QTABD1 Goswami - Redirect

1 Q. And on New Year's Eve 2016, you went to Ali Punjani's club,

2 is that correct?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And you testified yesterday that a fight broke out while

5 you were at the club, is that correct?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And you testified yesterday that at a certain point you

8 were injured and you were taken out of the club, is that right?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Before you left the club, did you see Baktash in the club?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And before you --

13 THE COURT: Ms. Houle, sorry to interrupt. I omitted

14 to remind the witness that he took an oath to tell the truth

15 yesterday and that he remains under oath.

16 Do you understand that?

17 THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.

18 MR. GOLTZER: Please note my objection to this line of

19 questioning since it's improper redirect. I did not cross on

20 the New Year's Eve incident, and she's asking about Baktash at

21 this point.

22 THE COURT: Ms. Houle?

23 MS. HOULE: You Honor, I'm happy to strike the last

24 question. The point really relates to Ibrahim in any event.

25 THE COURT: All right. Thank you, you may.


(212) 805-0300
J7QTABD1 Goswami - Redirect


2 Q. Before you left the club that evening, did you see Ibrahim

3 there?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And what, if anything, did you see Ibrahim do in the club

6 before you were taken out?

7 A. Ibrahim was waving a handgun in his hand and saying that we

8 was beating the person called Shafin Karar.

9 MS. CARDI: Excuse me, could you spell that name?


11 Q. Let me turn to a few questions that Mr. Goltzer asked you

12 yesterday. Mr. Goltzer asked you whether you called hearing

13 Baktash tell Rasheed that Baktash had access to heroin in

14 Tanzania. Do you remember that?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And Mr. Goltzer asked you whether Baktash was lying to

17 Rasheed about Baktash's access to heroin in Tanzania. Do you

18 remember that from yesterday?

19 A. Yes, but he was not lying.

20 Q. Do you remember Baktash also telling Rasheed that someone

21 named Abdul Syed had 420 kilograms of heroin available in

22 Afghanistan?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Who is Abdul Syed?

25 A. Abdul Syed is from Afghanistan and he's very close and


(212) 805-0300
J7QTABD1 Goswami - Redirect

1 associated with Baktash.

2 Q. Who first mentioned Abdul Syed to you?

3 MR. GOLTZER: Objection to the improper redirect.

4 THE COURT: Sustained.

5 MS. HOULE: Your Honor, Mr. Goltzer made an argument

6 yesterday that it was appropriate to question this witness

7 about his client's access to heroin because that's relevant to

8 sentencing. I would like to question this witness, it's only a

9 few more questions, about Baktash's relationship to a heroin

10 supplier, Abdul Syed.

11 THE COURT: You may, but don't use leading questions.

12 Q. You said that Abdul Syed had a relationship to Baktash,

13 right?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. What does Abdul Syed do for a living?

16 MR. GOLTZER: Objection, lack of foundation.

17 THE COURT: Overruled. He may answer.

18 A. He's one of the drug dealers from Afghanistan.

19 Q. What type of drugs?

20 A. Heroin and hashish.

21 Q. Have you met Abdul Syed in person?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Approximately when was that?

24 A. 2014, around June.

25 Q. Where was that?


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J7QTABD1 Goswami - Redirect

1 A. In Baktash's house.

2 Q. Who organized that meeting?

3 A. Baktash.

4 Q. And what was the purpose of the meeting?

5 A. To try and bring the heroin through Abdul Syed so we could

6 supply heroin to Rasheed.

7 Q. At meeting was there any discussion of the 420 kilos that

8 were available?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. You said yesterday that there were delays in getting heroin

11 because of monsoons, is that right?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. What is a monsoon?

14 A. A monsoon means it's a rainy season.

15 Q. When was the monsoon season in 2014?

16 A. June, July, August, September, around.

17 Q. And why would a monsoon make it difficult to transport

18 heroin?

19 A. Because normally we transport heroin through a fishing boat

20 from Iran to Africa, so in monsoon season, meaning rainy

21 season, they don't allow them to go into the sea because the

22 sea is very rough and it's not advisable for them to go and

23 travel also.

24 Q. You were asked questions yesterday by Mr. Goltzer about

25 whether Pinky's death would benefit Dennis Jedburgh. Do you


(212) 805-0300
J7QTABD1 Goswami - Redirect

1 recall that?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. What year was Pinky killed?

4 A. 2014.

5 Q. And in 2014, you were selling abba, correct?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Who were your partners in that abba business?

8 A. Myself, Baktash and Ibrahim.

9 Q. And you testified yesterday that in 2014 you, Baktash, and

10 Ibrahim were selling abba to Jedburgh, is that right?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And what was Jedburgh's role?

13 A. Jedburgh's role was to manufacture the abba, meaning make

14 mandrax tablets in South Africa and sell it and bring it to the

15 U.S.

16 Q. Now Pinky was a transporter, correct?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. What does a transporter do?

19 MS. CARDI: Objection.

20 THE COURT: Overruled.

21 A. Transporter means he was transporting drugs from East

22 Africa to South Africa.

23 Q. And in 2014, was Pinky the only transporter?

24 A. I don't know that. He did many things for David Armstrong,

25 but I don't know.


(212) 805-0300
J7QTABD1 Goswami - Recross

1 Q. Did you know any other transporters in 2014?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Including locally, right?

4 A. Yes.

5 MS. CARDI: Objection, leading.

6 THE COURT: Sustained.

7 Q. Who were some of the other transporters who you knew in

8 2014?

9 A. Hariri from Tanzania and Clement from Tanzania.

10 MS. HOULE: No further questions, your Honor.

11 MR. GOLTZER: May I have a moment?

12 THE COURT: Yes.

13 MS. CARDI: I have some. Should I start?

14 THE COURT: Are you ready first? Yes.



17 Q. Good morning, Mr. Goswami.

18 A. Good morning, ma'am.

19 Q. Today you testified to another version of the New Year's

20 Eve fight at Mr. Punjani's club. Isn't it a fact that today

21 for the first time you have added that my client had a handgun

22 and beat up Shafin Karar, correct?

23 MS. HOULE: Objection, your Honor, that misstates the

24 record from yesterday.

25 THE COURT: Sustained.


(212) 805-0300
J7QTABD1 Goswami - Recross

1 MS. CARDI: It does not.

2 THE COURT: Sustained.

3 Q. On June 7 of 2017 -- it's 3501-14, page 2 of 2 -- in

4 discussing the nightclub incident with the government, you did

5 not mention Ibrahim Abdalla at all, correct?

6 A. That's not correct.

7 Q. On June 14 of 2017 -- 3501-15, page 2 of 4 -- you mentioned

8 that Ibrahim hit -- you said Ibrahim Abdalla hit somebody's car

9 with something, a stone; no mention of a gun, no mention of

10 hitting this person you mentioned today, isn't that a fact?

11 A. That's not true.

12 Q. On June 27 of 2019, after you learned that you had to

13 testify at this hearing about my client, in talking with the

14 government about this very incident, you then told the

15 government that Ibrahim pulled out a gun and said: I'll kill

16 you. Correct?

17 A. Always I maintain Ibrahim had the gun and he pulled out the

18 gun.

19 Q. But you just didn't tell that to the government, correct?

20 A. I told the government.

21 Q. Sorry, that was 3501-93, and that was page 1 of 3.

22 If you look at 3501-93, page 3 of 3, when you speak

23 again about the New Year's Eve incident, you say that you saw

24 Ibrahim pull out a gun but you don't say he was beating anyone.

25 Isn't that correct?


(212) 805-0300
J7QTABD1 Goswami - Recross

1 A. I always maintain he pulled out the gun and was beating

2 Shafin Karar.

3 Q. But you did not tell the government that, did you?

4 MS. HOULE: This is cumulative. The witness already

5 addressed these questions. And I would like to address

6 separately Ms. Cardi's misconstruction of the 3500 material.

7 THE COURT: I will let Ms. Cardi develop the question.

8 Go ahead.

9 MS. CARDI: Your Honor, so the record is clear,

10 Ms. Houle, brought it up in her redirect.

11 THE COURT: Proceed, Ms. Cardi.


13 Q. So today for the first time you say that Ibrahim Abdalla at

14 the New Year's Eve party suddenly hit this man called Shabara

15 (ph), isn't that right?

16 MS. HOULE: Objection, that's not what the witness

17 just said, and I have the transcript cite from yesterday where

18 his testimony was consistent. It's at page 78.

19 MS. CARDI: Could you answer the question, please?

20 THE COURT: You may answer the question.

21 (Record read)

22 A. That's not right, not Shabara, Shafin Karar.

23 Q. So this is the first time -- sorry, withdrawn. Nowhere in

24 the government's notes did you record that Ibrahim Abdalla hit

25 the man Shabara (ph), correct?


(212) 805-0300
J7QTABD1 Goswami - Recross

1 MS. HOULE: Objection, your Honor.

2 THE COURT: Sustained.

3 Q. In the most recent government notes, 3501-93, page 3 of

4 3 --

5 MS. HOULE: Objection, your Honor, she's questioning

6 the witness about notes that are not in front of him.

7 THE COURT: Sustained.

8 MS. CARDI: Ms. Houle, could I finish, please?

9 THE COURT: Sustained.

10 Q. Did you tell the government on June 27 of 2019 that you saw

11 Ibrahim pull out his gun and point it at Punjani's associate?

12 A. Shafin Karar, whom I said Ibrahim was beating him, he is

13 Punjani's man.

14 Q. Is it your testimony today that you told the government

15 this when you met on June 27 of 2019?

16 A. I don't know. I always maintain the same thing that I'm

17 telling you right now.

18 MS. CARDI: I have no further questions.

19 MR. GOLTZER: May I proceed?

20 THE COURT: Yes, Mr. Goltzer.

21 MR. GOLTZER: Thank you.



24 Q. Just a couple of minutes ago, sir, you again stated, as you

25 did yesterday, that there was a delay in getting the heroin


(212) 805-0300
J7QTABD1 Goswami - Recross

1 from Tanzania because of a monsoon, is that correct?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Would you agree that in fact the heroin was not available

4 from Tanzania and it had nothing to do with the typhoon --

5 monsoon?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Is that true?

8 A. At that time there was no heroin available in around May,

9 June in Tanzania, bigger quantity.

10 Q. So it wasn't the monsoon, it was the fact that there was no

11 heroin available, right?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And for five months Baktash was telling them that there was

14 heroin available, right?

15 A. Baktash was telling Rasheed the heroin is available in

16 Afghanistan, but we are to bring it into Tanzania.

17 Q. But he told him that he had heroin available and that the

18 monsoon was the problem, right?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Did he say that?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. But he lied to him, because the monsoon wasn't the problem,

23 the problem was there was no heroin available in Tanzania,

24 correct?

25 A. Not correct.


(212) 805-0300
J7QTABD1 Goswami - Recross

1 Q. You agree, do you not, that the heroin was not available in

2 Tanzania for the five months before you took over the drug

3 business? Do you agree with that?

4 A. Not bigger quantity, yes.

5 Q. So I'm correct when I asked you that?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. There was no heroin available?

8 A. Yes, it was, but not a bigger quantity.

9 Q. Not enough to satisfy Rasheed?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. The only heroin that arrived was yours, correct, through

12 Gulam Hussein?

13 A. Not mine.

14 Q. You arranged for the heroin from Gulam Hussein.

15 A. Yes, but not only I agreed, it was Baktash and Ibrahim,

16 together we discussed about it.

17 Q. But you had the source of the Sultan. It was your

18 arrangement that made it happen, not Baktash, right?

19 A. Yeah, but even Baktash knows Sultan for almost 30 years.

20 He's not only my source.

21 Q. And you were present when Rasheed was on the phone with

22 Baktash, you were present at Baktash's end of the conversation

23 when Baktash said: I never did heroin before. Weren't you?

24 He told him that.

25 A. That's correct.


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1 MR. GOLTZER: Thank you.

2 THE COURT: Ms. Houle?

3 MS. HOULE: No additional questions, your Honor.

4 THE COURT: Government have anything further for this

5 hearing?

6 MS. HOULE: Not with this witness, your Honor. I

7 would like to address the point made by Ms. Cardi regarding the

8 3500.

9 THE COURT: All right. Thank you, you may step down.

10 You're excused.

11 (Witness not present)

12 THE COURT: Ms. Houle?

13 MS. HOULE: Your Honor, Ms. Cardi said that the

14 witness testified inconsistently with what he said yesterday

15 regarding the New Year's Eve fight. At page 78 of the

16 transcript the question is:

17 What did you see Ibrahim do?

18 Answer: Ibrahim also had a gun in his hands and he

19 was beating this Shafil.

20 That's what he said today on the stand and it's

21 consistent with the 3500.

22 And Ms. Cardi's references to the 3500 from June of

23 2017 are misleading. In June of 2017 the notes reflect that

24 this witness told the government that at the club that night

25 were Baktash's people. He didn't give an exhaustive list, or


(212) 805-0300

1 it's not reflected in the notes. A week later the government

2 met with the witness again, provided additional details, and

3 the notes reflect that that day Ibrahim was identified as being

4 there and being a participant.

5 Ms. Cardi suggested yesterday that this witness has

6 made up Ibrahim's involvement in the decision to kill Pinky in

7 recent weeks. Ms. Goswami told the government about Pinky's

8 murder and the events leading up to it on April 6, 2017, and I

9 would like to briefly cover a couple of points.

10 MS. CARDI: Your Honor, I object. The government is

11 going to have ample opportunity in the post -- I assume --

12 post-hearing sentencing to make their arguments. The

13 transcript will prevail, and they're anxiously trying to

14 rehabilitate and go through the entire testimony. I'm happy to

15 do it again with you, but I don't think that's appropriate

16 here. We will be having sentencing memorandums which clearly

17 will make various arguments in regard to the testimony today.

18 THE COURT: I will allow the parties today, if they

19 wish, to make a brief summary of their perceptions and

20 impressions of the hearing. So if the government wants to use

21 this occasion to do that, you may, and Ms. Cardi, you will have

22 yours as well, and Mr. Goltzer.

23 MS. HOULE: Thank you, your Honor.

24 On this point, as to what the notes indicate this

25 witness said when he first met with the government, on April 6,


(212) 805-0300

1 2017, Mr. Goswami told the government about Pinky's murder and

2 the events leading up to it. And I would like to cover a few

3 points that are reflected in the notes. The notes indicate

4 that Ibrahim kidnapped Armstrong from a hotel in 2014 --

5 MS. CARDI: Objection. I used only a portion -- I

6 asked the question: When was the first time -- isn't it a fact

7 that the first time you raised the Pinky murder was on your

8 eighth session.

9 THE COURT: We're not going to get anywhere if the

10 interruptions of the summary are frequent.

11 MS. CARDI: Your Honor, they're not --

12 THE COURT: Let the government make its summary and

13 you will have your opportunity.

14 MS. CARDI: But they should not be permitted to --

15 THE COURT: There's no jury here.

16 MS. CARDI: I understand that, your Honor, but that

17 doesn't mean -- you're acting as our jury.

18 THE COURT: If they misrepresent, you can point out

19 where you think they misrepresent.

20 MS. CARDI: Okay.

21 THE COURT: Ms. Houle.

22 MS. HOULE: Thank you, your Honor.

23 Those notes reflect the following points: That

24 Ibrahim kidnapped Armstrong from a hotel in 2014, that Ibrahim

25 was present at the mall with Livondo and pulled out his gun


(212) 805-0300

1 that day, that Ibrahim gave Goswami his gun following that

2 incident at the mall with Livondo, that Ibrahim was involved in

3 the discussions about Pinky's death, including a meeting with

4 Jedburgh at which Ibrahim was pushing for Pinky's death, and

5 that following Pinky's death Ibrahim was tracking Armstrong and

6 found him at a hotel.

7 Mr. Goswami did not make up Ibrahim's violence, his

8 use of guns or his participation in Pinky's murder in the days

9 that led up to this hearing. He told the government about it

10 years ago. He's been consistent, and he testified credibly

11 about it yesterday and today.

12 There was also some suggestion from Ms. Cardi that

13 Mr. Goswami committed other crimes that he didn't tell the

14 government about, and that mostly came in the form of Ms. Cardi

15 reading from a book which is published in 2006 that claims to

16 be about scandals in South Africa. It's a book of rumors. If

17 there was an actual basis for any of those claims, Ms. Cardi

18 would have presented evidence of it. She did not. For what

19 it's worth, I found exactly one review of that book online, and

20 it reads: Recognized one of the so-called scandals in the

21 book, discovered it was completely incorrect, no background

22 check on the fiction in the book was ever conducted by the

23 author, so the rest of the book lost all credibility. It's a

24 book that collects a series of rumors. Ms. Cardi presented the

25 witness with several of them, and he denied it.


(212) 805-0300

1 Ms. Goswami has certainly committed serious crimes.

2 He accepted responsibility for those crimes. He testified

3 about it and he did so credibly.

4 If I may, your Honor, have a moment to respond to any

5 comments that Mr. Goltzer makes.

6 THE COURT: Thank you.

7 MR. GOLTZER: Shall I proceed?

8 THE COURT: Unless Ms. Cardi wants to go first.

9 MR. GOLTZER: If you like.

10 MS. CARDI: Mr. Goswami is a witness who said to this

11 Court: I murder people and I can sleep at night. He said to

12 this Court: I tell the truth. Drug dealers tell the truth.

13 We have a code of telling the truth. Those are two shocking

14 statements from a witness that the government is contending is

15 credible and honest.

16 I have reviewed the 3500 material, and there is

17 substantial amounts of discrepancies in regard to my client,

18 Ibrahim Abdalla. I read from the 3500 material for each and

19 every day. I didn't mischaracterize it. It was clear that on

20 the first date my client is not even mentioned, on the second

21 date he did nothing but throw a rock at a car, on the third

22 date he now has a gun and he is shooting, and on the fourth

23 date he is now beating up a man that isn't mentioned at all.

24 If the government thinks that's credible, that's who they're

25 relying on, that's for you to decide.


(212) 805-0300

1 There is, if you review the testimony, the 3500

2 material, any number of other areas that, for example, were not

3 subject to this particular hearing but will be argued at the

4 sentencing whereby it is absolutely clear that my client's

5 conduct does not rise to the level of life in prison. It does

6 not rise to the level of somebody who was a decision maker. It

7 did not rise to the level of somebody who could control the

8 operation. It rose to the level of a gofer, a delivery boy,

9 someone who took people to the zoo, maybe chatted them up.

10 That's what it rises to the level of.

11 My client has admitted, he admitted to participating

12 in serious drug crimes, there's no question about that. But

13 this witness I submit is a liar, and I submit that he thinks,

14 as he did in Dubai, as he's probably doing with the Indian RAW,

15 as he's doing with our government, he's going to get out, he's

16 going to get away. He's the international drug lord, and he's

17 the one who should be going away to prison for life. But he

18 knows, he's smart enough: I'll give them what they want about

19 my client and that will save my life.

20 I don't think that that kind of a witness is credible.

21 But I'm not asking you to take my opinion, I'm asking you to

22 read the transcript. Your Honor, you can decide whether he was

23 honest, you can decide whether he's credible, but I submit to

24 you that after reading the transcript and hearing from us in

25 our sentencing memos you will not give him the credit the


(212) 805-0300

1 government is willing to give him.

2 THE COURT: Thank you.

3 Mr. Goltzer.

4 MR. GOLTZER: Thank you, Judge. Because the rules of

5 evidence don't apply to this sentencing hearing, I would like

6 to read from a document as part of -- as my case, and it's one

7 document, which I referred to in my cross-examination of the

8 witness.

9 The government had more than one cooperator that they

10 were going to call at the trial. One of the other cooperators

11 was Mr. Gulam Hussein, who was the transporter of the hundred

12 kilos of heroin that found its way into Kenya and was

13 ultimately destined for the United States.

14 Your Honor may recall that I asked the witness, VG,

15 whether in fact he had sent messages out involving murder from

16 the Dubai jail with Mr. Gulam Hussain. He denied it. He said:

17 I never sent messages through Gulam Hussein because I had my

18 cell phone. I guess, according to the witness, the Dubai rules

19 may be a little more lax than the MCC.

20 So the document that I would like to refer to, which

21 was provided to us by the government as part of the 3500

22 material, is 3506-09 at page 1, which is a statement made to

23 the government in a proffer through an interpreter with his

24 lawyer present. And what he told the government was that he

25 passed messages related to killings, that the word that was


(212) 805-0300

1 used as a code for the killing, which he didn't know at the

2 time but learned later, according to Mr. Hussain, was the word

3 supari, S-U-P-A-R-I. He told the government that it was slang

4 in the underworld for the word "murder." He didn't know what

5 the word "supari" meant at the time that he passed the

6 messages.

7 So he told the government that on two occasions

8 messages were passed from VG, the witness, regarding killing

9 the guy that plays cricket and separately killing the guy in

10 the black coat, and that messages were passed to the sister's

11 son. That's what their other cooperator told them. And

12 presumably the government accepted the word of that cooperator

13 because they were going to call him at this trial.

14 And with that, I rest, and now I'm prepared to give

15 you a summary.

16 I suggest, most respectfully, that this statement from

17 the government's 3500 material is admissible for whatever the

18 Court finds it's worth.

19 Now I would like to talk to you, most respectfully,

20 for a little bit of time about the witness VG. He's a

21 remarkable witness, Judge. Number one, I would like to start

22 by making some observations generally about his credibility.

23 He is a master criminal. And it is not for nothing

24 that he ended up in a chapter of the book that was used to form

25 a good faith basis for the questions by learned co-counsel for


(212) 805-0300

1 Mr. Ibrahim Abdalla. Think of it, Judge: He gets arrested in

2 Dubai and sentenced to life, and while he is serving a life

3 sentence, within a period of two years he earns $3 million by

4 laundering 400 to $500 million around the entire world. I have

5 never seen anything like that. I don't know if the Court has,

6 but that's really unusual.

7 Then he keeps the money. After all, he had major

8 expenses in jail. He had to buy food, he had to buy a phone.

9 None of that money is left over. Maybe he gave some to his

10 family. He keeps the money, and then he flips on the people

11 who got him the money.

12 (Continued on next page)















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1 MR. GOLTZER: (Continuing) And he cooperates and gets

2 11 people arrested. There's no indication he ever gave a

3 nickel to the Dubai government or this government, the United

4 States. He makes an application for mercy. You know, Judge,

5 that they never told the judge or the prosecutor that he had

6 been making a million or $2 million while he was in jail. If

7 they told this court in Dubai that, he'd still be there, where

8 he belongs, I respectfully suggest.

9 So, he knew that a false application went in. The

10 secret service of Dubai probably told him we'll take care of

11 it. We don't know what happened in Dubai, but we know he got

12 out. We know that as soon as he got out, he used the forged

13 passport to get into Kenya.

14 We know he's willing to lie. We know that he had

15 forged passports before he was in the prison in Dubai. He had

16 a plan all along, and it is a clear inference, what he was

17 going to do when he got out of prison in Dubai and -- I defy

18 government to contest it -- he was going to become again one of

19 the great drug dealers of the world. He had connections all

20 over the place. He had connections in Dubai. He had

21 connections in the Arab speaking world. He had connections in

22 Pakistan. He had connections in Japan with the Yakuza. He was

23 laundering money all over the world.

24 And understand, please, that every time you launder

25 money, the way he did, there is deception involved. There is


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1 lying involved. There is hiding of assets involved. There is

2 trickery involved. The Court's more familiar than I, I'm sure,

3 with money laundering cases. There is a secretive element to

4 it.

5 Now, the notion that there is a code among drug

6 dealers to tell the truth is something that I'm really glad

7 that I learned about at this hearing. Because since 1972, I've

8 been practicing law, and I must have missed something because

9 I've never heard that before. And it's nonsense.

10 Let me tell you where this guy is coming from. Number

11 one, everything has to do with Baktash. But it was his plan to

12 take over whatever organization Baktash had. He admitted today

13 that Baktash said on the phone I never did heroin before. No

14 heroin came from Afghanistan. No heroin came from Tanzania.

15 The heroin that showed up in connection with this case that the

16 government wants him to do life for that never reaches the

17 United States came from their witness. Through a guy known as

18 the Sultan, the Sultan.

19 Now, Baktash admitted that he wanted to be involved in

20 the American drug trade, but he couldn't make it happen. He

21 pled guilty to it because he is guilty of it, I'm not arguing

22 that.

23 But this is a matter of perspective and a matter of

24 weight to be given to things. He denies that Baktash was lying

25 to the people in -- to Rashid. He was giving them excuses. I


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1 have samples; it is the monsoon. It's not the monsoon, Judge.

2 He just told you today there wasn't enough drugs in Tanzania.

3 So how can you have the monsoon delay drugs that aren't there

4 to use? And if it was the monsoon, all he had to say is we'll

5 get you the drugs after the monsoon. But Baktash is telling

6 him I have the drugs, I'll get you the drugs, I have samples.

7 It was nonsense.

8 Now, what I want to tell you about Jedburgh, his

9 brother-in-law. It has to do with the murder they say Baktash

10 is complicit in. The real issue for Mr. Baktash at the Fatico

11 hearing is the only thing he denied that's in the PSR. Baktash

12 absolutely denies that he was complicit in the murder of Pinky.

13 We know that there is no allegation that Baktash ever killed

14 anybody in Kenya. There is a remarkable claim by the witness

15 that a year to the day after Baktash's father was murdered in

16 Amsterdam, he caused that assassin to be murdered in Amsterdam.

17 Certainly nothing to that extent has been proved by a

18 preponderance of the evidence. It is an uncorroborated

19 allegation.

20 But if you think about it, number one, who is the

21 assassin that killed his father? Did the witness ask for

22 details? Did the witness give any details? No. How would

23 Baktash know who killed his father? Since there was never an

24 arrest or evidence of an arrest in Amsterdam presented to your

25 Honor. How would he know where to find the assassin and how


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1 would he know a year to the day after the assassination of his

2 father what street corner they could find the guy on. There is

3 nothing in the record to demonstrate that.

4 But what it is by this witness is an uncorroborated

5 claim, and you know something, Judge, I could tell you that 16

6 years ago, I saw Ms. Cardi speaking to a ghost. And I could

7 say it under oath. And I could prove it to you because here's

8 the glass. And that's all that's involved with this particular

9 witness. He came in here knowing what he had to say to get his

10 cooperation. And he came in here, as every cooperator does,

11 saying to you I don't know what's going to happen. If I have

12 to do life, I'll do life. We understand as experienced federal

13 litigators, and the Court understands, that they all say that.

14 It's jury food. It makes them look good to the jury, and,

15 quite frankly, nobody does it better than the United States

16 government.

17 These are tough cases to try to juries; these are

18 tough cases to win. But it's clear that this witness has been

19 cooperating his way in and out of prisons, in and out of

20 potential cases that could cost him the rest of his life in

21 prison. And if you think he doesn't have expectations of

22 what's going to happen, if you think he hasn't scouted it out,

23 then I'll sell you the bridge that I can see from here, Judge.

24 This guy knows exactly what he's doing. He is a master

25 manipulator.


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1 Think about this: He had Taka killed after he invited

2 Jedburgh to a meeting that the Akashas didn't want him to go

3 to. He invited Jedburgh to the meeting to get his

4 brother-in-law into the business of mandrax. When he killed

5 Taka, which had nothing do to do with Akasha, he admitted he

6 was trying to hurt Akasha's mandrax business which had nothing

7 to do with the United States.

8 When he killed Pinky, he was depriving Armstrong of a

9 major, major transporter. When he killed Pinky, he was hurting

10 Armstrong, and he said under oath on direct I believe that

11 Armstrong and Baktash had been doing the mandrax business for

12 years. He was not only taking over the heroin, which didn't

13 exist before he came on board, he was taking over the mandrax

14 business. He wanted everything out of the Congo. Ultimately

15 what he was going to do was cut Baktash out, and he was going

16 to align himself with Ali Punjani. That's where he was going

17 until he got caught and he got extradited.

18 By the way, there is another million or $2 million

19 that he can't account for. So this guy is a master

20 manipulator, and the notion that he always told the truth, all

21 through his life in every drug deal he's done for 30 years is

22 one of the great fables. And the Grimm Brothers and Hans

23 Christian Andersen wouldn't even put it in one of their fairy

24 tales, because they know that children wouldn't believe it.

25 So that's what I have to say about that gentleman.


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1 So there are things that came out at this hearing that

2 corroborate concessions that the government made in its motions

3 in limine, and that I made in my sentencing submission. I'm

4 not going to do a lengthy sentencing submission because I've

5 already given one to the Court.

6 But they want a life sentence for a man who never

7 brought an ounce of heroin to the United States. They want a

8 life sentence for a man who pled guilty, who never brought an

9 ounce of the heroin to Kenya that was supposed to make its way

10 into the United States. They want a life sentence because they

11 claim he killed somebody in Kenya when their witness made it

12 happen. It was his gunman who did it, not Baktash's. And

13 every time he testified about an act of violence that Baktash

14 committed, nobody got killed. He slapped him around.

15 There is an old, very off-color joke that's told about

16 a summation Brooklyn. I'm not going to say it, but it sort of

17 paraphrases what I'm about to say about what we heard in this

18 case. Two drug dealers had a fight in Kenya. So what? And

19 they want to give you a life sentence for this man? On a plea?

20 And that guy's going to walk out of this courthouse, and he's

21 never going to go back to India.

22 I researched last night of whether the death penalty

23 was pending in India. There was a time when India had a death

24 penalty for drugs and people were actually hung for it. Then

25 they changed the law. And it says that there is a


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1 discretionary death penalty for prior offenders. Now, I don't

2 know, quite frankly, I want to be candid with your Honor, I

3 don't know whether he qualifies as a prior offender under the

4 Indian law, because the prior conviction was not in India. But

5 there is a death penalty for drugs in India. I know that in

6 many areas in the Muslim speaking world they cut your head off

7 for it or they hang you from a crane. They do that in Iran.

8 His crime was in the United Arab Emirates which he went to jail

9 for in Dubai. I don't know what that penalty was, but he's not

10 doing life and no one is sending him back to India, Judge.

11 Ms. Cardi was quite correct. If he gets the S visa or

12 the witness protection program, which he's going to get,

13 because they love him, and India loves him -- oh, which reminds

14 me. There are 1.4 billion people in India. They can't find an

15 Indian assassin. They need him. They were going to use him to

16 kill people in Pakistan. They were going to use him to kill

17 people in Thailand. They used him to find a mosque that ISIS

18 had. They used him to find people in the Caliphate. But I

19 have nothing to do with terrorists, Judge. I swear to you, I

20 have nothing to do with terrorists. Why I would have anything

21 to do with terrorists? It was Baktash who had to do with

22 terrorists, after all, he bought a gun from al Shabaab.

23 There is a concept in psychiatry, Judge, known as

24 projection. Right? And if I am a drug dealer, I'll say you

25 know, Judge, you're dealing drugs. That's projection.


(212) 805-0300

1 He is a terrorist? Nonsense. You want to know who is

2 the terrorist? There are different ways of being a terrorist.

3 This guy's been a terrorist all his life. He was going to do a

4 ton of heroin with the Sultan. He was going to turn himself

5 into one of the biggest drug dealers in the world while he was

6 cooperating with other governments and while he was out on

7 bail. And that's the witness they've proffered to you to give

8 him a life sentence.

9 Please consider these remarks before you decide what

10 to do to this man, Judge, and his family. Thank you.

11 THE COURT: Thank you. Ms. Houle.

12 MS. HOULE: Thank you, your Honor.

13 In attacking Mr. Goswami's credibility, Mr. Goltzer

14 has made much of what happened in Dubai and what he was in

15 prison for, what he did when he was in prison, how he got out

16 of prison.

17 It's not disputed that Mr. Goswami committed many

18 crimes before he came in and pled guilty and cooperated with

19 the government.

20 And for all of the talk about Mr. Goswami's

21 credibility and whether or not he is an honest drug dealer,

22 there hasn't been a single lie that's been identified. There's

23 nothing that defense counsel has pointed to that Mr. Goswami

24 lied about in the course of his drug dealing.

25 These men were dealing in tons and tons and tons of


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1 drugs. If you lose a ton shipment and you lie about it, you're

2 killed. There were reasons for him to be telling the truth

3 about his drug business.

4 Ultimately, your Honor, the points that defense

5 counsel has raised to attack Goswami's credibility, you don't

6 even need to rely on Goswami -- although he did testify

7 credibly and consistently -- because it's in the recordings.

8 Mr. Goltzer's focused on whether or not there was any supply of

9 heroin available in Tanzania. Baktash says it on the

10 recordings. So does Ibrahim. That's 403-T. Ibrahim talks

11 about the trip to Tanzania and the sample that they viewed

12 there.

13 They don't say on those recordings that there is a

14 huge amount of heroin in Tanzania at that time. The

15 large-scale shipment was coming from Afghanistan, from Abdul

16 Sayed. That was Baktash's contact. And that's the heroin that

17 was impacted by the monsoon. That's what the witness testified

18 to, and that's what makes sense.

19 In terms of Pinky's death, Baktash is on a recording

20 talking about the circumstances of Pinky's death. He and

21 Mr. Goswami together are telling the confidential source about

22 how Pinky was killed, why Pinky was killed, how Baktash was

23 owed money for Armstrong's shares in the factory. This is all

24 at 421-T. About how the purpose was so that nobody could mess

25 with them, and Baktash says because of Pinky's murder, we're


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1 safe. Mr. Goswami's testimony is completely corroborated by

2 those recordings, Baktash's own words.

3 And this point about whether or not Baktash has

4 engaged in murders before, Mr. Goswami is not the first person

5 who has said that Baktash killed his father's assassin.

6 Baktash said that, again on a recording -- that's 417-T --

7 where Baktash talks about finding his father's assassin one

8 year later on the same street. Mr. Goswami didn't make that

9 up. Baktash said it himself. He admitted to it on the

10 recording.

11 And this alternative theory that Mr. Goltzer has

12 advanced about why Mr. Goswami could have this alternative

13 reason for killing Pinky, again, it's inconsistent with what

14 Baktash himself said on the recording, but it also doesn't make

15 any sense. Taka was killed in 2016. That has nothing to do

16 with Pinky's murder. Pinky was killed in 2014. In 2014,

17 Goswami was working with the Akashas in this drug business. So

18 what was good for Goswami was good for the Akashas in 2014.

19 And again, we don't have to hypothesize about it,

20 because Baktash says it himself on these recordings. Pinky's

21 death was agreed upon by Baktash, Ibrahim, and Goswami.

22 Baktash wanted it because Pinky was threatening him and because

23 they wanted to send a message to the drug market.

24 Mr. Goltzer also talked a lot about the money that

25 Mr. Goswami made. Mr. Goswami testified about how much money


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1 he made and the fact that he had spent it. I think it will be

2 interesting, your Honor, to see what Baktash says at sentencing

3 when your Honor is considering imposing a fine, as to what

4 money Baktash has made and what's happened to the millions and

5 millions of dollars that he made through this drug business and

6 that supported the lavish home on a beach that your Honor has

7 seen in the evidence in this case.

8 Your Honor, in terms of the arguments that Mr. Goltzer

9 has made about the appropriateness of a life sentence for

10 Baktash, we've addressed that in our submissions. We don't

11 think now is the appropriate time for us to take that up, but

12 we will be happy to answer further questions from the Court on

13 that topic at the time of sentencing.

14 MR. GOLTZER: May I just add something that I forgot?

15 THE COURT: Yes.

16 MR. GOLTZER: Thank you. As far as the tape recording

17 is concerned, my characterization of that tape recording at

18 421-T is a little bit different. I welcome the Court's looking

19 at the transcript, even though it wasn't technically placed in

20 evidence I believe.

21 What's happening is the witness is on the phone and

22 he's telling the story, and Baktash is backing him up basically

23 going, right, right, right. There is a lot of puffing going

24 on. If you look at all these transcripts, you know what drug

25 dealers do. They make themselves look more important. They


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1 make themselves look more serious.

2 Baktash admits he killed his father's assassin, but

3 there's no way he could have found him. That's not true. We

4 don't even know who killed him. By the way, if the witness

5 really wanted to know, he could have asked him because,

6 according to the government, they were friends. He could have

7 found out everything he wanted to know, but he never did.

8 There is nothing in the record except one piece on a

9 telephone, I killed the man who killed my father, and this guy

10 says he told me he killed the man who killed his father. Makes

11 him into a serious person. But there is no reason to believe

12 it's true.

13 What's more credible, Judge? Gulam Hussein telling

14 the government during proffers that the witness asked me to

15 send the message to kill two people. Is that more credible

16 than his claim that he killed an assassin who he could never

17 find, a year and a day later? You'll have to decide, sir.

18 THE COURT: All right. I thank you. I'm going to

19 close the Fatico hearing on this matter at this point.

20 I thank the parties for both sides for providing very

21 detailed, very professional presentations. Especially at the

22 high and literary level that Mr. Goltzer and Ms. Cardi has put

23 on the record by quotations or citations to Hans Christian

24 Andersen and psychiatry, Ms. Cardi has quoted from a book

25 relating to the witness.


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1 In that spirit, in listening to the testimony in this

2 case, it occurred to me that there was a poem, I believe it is

3 by Robert Frost, it's called, I believe, The Hangman. And the

4 theme of that poem is the hangman has a day job, and then he

5 goes home, and he has children and dinner with the wife and is

6 a very polite and very caring individual.

7 The point is that there are some people who have a day

8 job and they also have a nightlife and a night job. And they

9 do things that remind me also of sentencing of a defendant I

10 had recently who I called a Jekyll and Hyde defendant. A

11 person who had enormous support from the community, family,

12 friends, going back many, many years, and incredibly detailed

13 stories about all the good deeds this gentleman engaged in

14 throughout his life. At the same time, in his night job, this

15 gentleman was a high-ranking member of one of the big crime

16 families in New York who was a "made man." So how do you

17 reconcile the fact that you have these kinds of individuals.

18 That is the way that I, to some extent, that I view Mr. Goswami

19 and his testimony.

20 Let me pause there and give you some observations and

21 insights about the process that happens in many of these cases

22 involving cooperators and attempts by defense counsel to

23 impeach the credibility of the government's witnesses.

24 Especially in cases as complicated as this one, involving so

25 many individuals, so many events in so many different parts of


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1 the world that occur over a long period, and some of the facts

2 go back into the past many years.

3 When these witnesses tell their stories to the

4 government, it's rarely done in one narrative from beginning to

5 end in one session, because it would take literally weeks,

6 maybe months, to tell it all. In this case, Mr. Goswami

7 indicated he must have had as many as 50 sessions with the

8 government other a period of two-and-a-half years. And the way

9 these things develop, because they take part in segments,

10 installments, so to speak, the narrative sort of evolves and is

11 not a continuous description. It develops one piece at a time.

12 Sometimes, you may have one session in which the government

13 asks about one issue and the witness testifies to that issue.

14 The government may not necessarily raise another issue, because

15 they're not there yet in the narrative. But eventually, the

16 picture begins to develop from session to session.

17 In that setting, it is not uncommon, I believe, for

18 witnesses to develop parts of a story as they refresh their

19 recollections by telling other pieces. And that is what makes

20 this process somewhat difficult, because the witness's

21 testimony may appear inconsistent, not necessarily because the

22 witness was lying, but because the story is told in segments.

23 Bear in mind, also, that the witness is not taking

24 notes or making a recording of himself. It is the government's

25 agents who sit there taking notes, and the government's agents


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1 may be a prosecutor, they may be an FBI agent. They are not

2 necessarily there to be court reporters, and they don't take a

3 transcript of what they hear. They record their impressions

4 and sometimes in bullet points. So, these notes are not

5 gospel, they are not recordings, they're not word-for-word

6 transcripts. Sometimes the person taking notes may be

7 distracted because they may have another role in the session.

8 They may themselves have questions.

9 The point is that all of that leads to a situation

10 where witnesses may be confronted later by omissions, and the

11 omissions may be explained by the fact that when they're told,

12 well, on such-and-such a date you told the government this, but

13 you didn't say that to the government before. Well, that

14 happens in part because of the nature of the process. And in

15 my view, that does not necessarily mean that the witness is

16 being inconsistent or lying. To some extent, it is a function

17 of this flaw in how this record is made by the government under

18 these circumstances.

19 Here, the issue that the Court is asked to decide is a

20 very narrow one, as I see it. It is whether the defendants,

21 both Baktash and Ibrahim, were complicit in the killing of

22 Pinky, and whether there is evidence that Ibrahim was involved

23 in acts of violence, threats, assaults using a firearm. That

24 is all that is before the Court.

25 So, on those points, even if Mr. Goswami were


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1 inconsistent -- whether in material or immaterial ways -- about

2 some of the things he testified about, it doesn't mean that he

3 necessarily was lying about the issues that are before the

4 Court.

5 He may be a terrible person, he may be a gangster of

6 sorts, a drug dealer, a murderer. But like The Hangman, he

7 also from time to time may tell the truth on some things. It

8 is the Court's role to determine whether or not, at least as to

9 the relevant portions of what's before the Court, the witness

10 was sufficiently credible and provided testimony from which a

11 reasonable finding could be made by a preponderance of the

12 evidence that the defendants engaged in the acts that are

13 attributed to them.

14 I, like you, saw the witness testifying, and I agree

15 with Mr. Goltzer's observation that he is a master at what he

16 does. But, in my view, by and large, Mr. Goswami was credible

17 in what he said. I'm not going to parse what elements may or

18 may not be supportable, but at least as to those parts of the

19 issues that are before the Court, I found his presentation

20 sufficiently credible. Not only by his demeanor and the

21 internal consistency of his statements, but also to the extent

22 that what he said overall was corroborated by other evidence

23 that the parties have brought to the Court's attention.

24 For those reasons, I am inclined to overrule the

25 objections of the defendants to the representations in the PSR


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1 and the superseding information with regards to the killing of

2 Pinky and with the acts of violence that are attributed to

3 Mr. Ibrahim Abdalla.

4 We, therefore, should look at the calendar for a date

5 for sentencing of the defendants and see what may be convenient

6 for both sides.

7 MS. CARDI: Your Honor, the government and I have been

8 in communication in regard to my client. And November 8,

9 Friday November 8 is a good date, if that's good for the Court.

10 THE COURT: Mr. Goltzer, do you have a proposed date?

11 MR. GOLTZER: I would suggest something before

12 October 2 when I start my trial in White Plains.

13 THE COURT: Let's look for a date before November 2

14 for Mr. Baktash Abdalla.

15 MR. GOLTZER: We can do it sooner, Judge. We can do

16 it within a couple of weeks, according to Mr. Baktash, because

17 you have our submission.

18 THE COURT: Yes.

19 MS. HOULE: That's fine for the government, your

20 Honor.

21 MR. GOLTZER: Some time in August then. I'm going to

22 be here all day on the 7th, if that's convenient for the Court.

23 It's my CJA day.

24 THE DEPUTY CLERK: Friday, August 9.

25 MR. GOLTZER: Sure.


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1 THE DEPUTY CLERK: At 3 o'clock.

2 MR. GOLTZER: Okay.

3 MS. HOULE: I apologize, your Honor. Could we pick a

4 different day in August?

5 MR. GOLTZER: Is it possible to do it earlier in the

6 morning so he doesn't spend the whole day in a holding cell?

7 THE DEPUTY CLERK: Friday, August 16 at 11:30 a.m.

8 MR. GOLTZER: Sure.

9 MS. HOULE: Thank you, your Honor.

10 THE COURT: All right. So Mr. Baktash Abdalla's

11 sentencing Friday, August 16 at 11:30.

12 And Ibrahim Abdalla November 8.

13 THE DEPUTY CLERK: At 10 a.m.

14 MS. CARDI: That's fine, your Honor.

15 MS. HOULE: Thank you, your Honor.

16 THE COURT: Thank you. If there is nothing else, I

17 hope you have a good day and a good weekend.

18 (Adjourned)









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2 Examination of: Page


4 Redirect By Ms. Houle . . . . . . . . . . . . 209

5 Recross By Ms. Cardi . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215

6 Recross By Mr. Goltzer . . . . . . . . . . . . 218


















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