This Week in Allegedly: Paul Manafort and a Capitol Rioter’s Cannabis

Good morning, everyone.

We are thrilled to be back and apologize that our time away was longer than expected. We felt bad for stepping away but, as a wise friend said: Family is more important than audience-building. Obviously, we couldn’t agree more. 

We’re going to try something new this week. Today, you’ll get The Allegedly List, featuring updates on New York City’s courts and crime news. Barring any unexpected crisis, you’ll get The Allegedly Original on Monday. It’s about meth in the city. Why the change? Many people have been complaining that newsletters are an unpleasant format for readers. We wanted to address these concerns, and figured that several shorter newsletters might make for a more pleasant reading experience than one long one.

Anyway, thank you for reading. Please remember to subscribe. All you have to do is click here!  

The Allegedly List

  • New York’s highest court upheld a lower court’s ruling that prosecuting Paul Manafort would violate the state’s double-jeopardy laws, according to a Feb. 4 decision that the New York Times revealed Monday. Manhattan prosecutors had charged Trump’s ex-campaign manager with mortgage fraud and other felonies. While Manafort was found guilty in a federal finance fraud case in 2018, the Manhattan D.A. contended that he hadn’t specifically faced charges for alleged crimes “which strike at the heart of New York’s sovereign interests.” Trump pardoned Manafort in December.  Via court documents, New York Times

  • An ex-NYPD officer who sexually assaulted Abner Louima in 1997 lost his bid for compassionate release from prison. Brooklyn federal court Judge Frederic Block rejected Justin Volpe’s request, which included the former cop’s claims that he had changed and contracted coronavirus in lockup. Volpe in 1999 admitted to forcibly sodomizing Louima with a broomstick. Via New York Daily News

  • R. Kelly’s  Brooklyn federal court sex trafficking trial was postponed until August 9 because of coronavirus-related disruptions to the court system. “We are scheduled for an April trial date but I suspect it’s not going to come as a surprise that that is not a date that is going to work given the current conditions,” said Judge Ann Donnelly during a telephone conference Tuesday.  Kelly also faces federal charges in Illinois for alleged sex crimes, and his trial there is “tentatively” scheduled for September. Via New York Post

  • Bronx prosecutors launched a criminal investigation into Victor Rivera, who headed one of the largest homeless shelter providers in New York City, after The New York Times revealed allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Two of the ten accusers who spoke with the Times alleged that Rivera “coerced them into performing oral sex.” Prosecutors are also probing potential financial misconduct at the shelter organization, which is named the Bronx Parent Housing Network. Via The New York Times

  • Two NYPD officers who didn’t bother to leave their patrol car while responding to a domestic violence call—an incident which ended in a woman’s death at the hands of her husband—got to keep their jobs, according to a Monday report. Cops Wing Hong Lau and Wael Jaber went to victim Tonie Wells’ Crown Heights home on Dec. 22, 2017.  While the NYPD found them guilty of “failure to take police action and failure to properly investigate while responding to a call,” they were just put on “dismissal probation,” which meant they had to stay out of trouble for a year or face firing. Via New York Daily News

  • The Rev. Al Sharpton filed for divorce Thursday from his long-estranged wife, Kathy Jordan Sharpton. A Manhattan Supreme Court entry lists the filing as a “contested” proceeding—which means the couple doesn’t agree on every facet of their divorce. They split in 2004 after 24 years together; since 2013, Sharpton has been in a relationship with Westchester personal stylist Aisha McShaw. Via New York Daily News

  • Authorities seized 1.7 million counterfeit 3M N95 respirator masks from a Queens warehouse, prosecutors announced Thursday. The Queens District Attorney said that Zhi Zeng had been arrested on one count of “ trademark counterfeiting, a C felony, for possessing and selling the fake 3M labeled medical masks.” If found guilty, the suspect faces up to 15 years in state lockup. Via Queens DA

  • The acting warden at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center—where Jeffrey Epstein killed himself—served as the executioner “for at least five federal executions at the end of the Trump administration,” the Associated Press revealed Monday. Eric Williams was named interim MDC warden by the Bureau of Prisons in late January. Williams’ predecessor, Marti Licon-Vitale, suddenly quit following a yearlong stint at MDC that was characterized by Covid-19 transmission, alleged dirty conditions, and the death of at least one detainee. Via AP

  • New York City’s housing courts have gotten less than 2,300 forms from tenants hoping to delay or prevent eviction cases until May 1, “frustrating advocates and attorneys more than halfway through a near-total statewide hold on evictions,” Law360 exclusively reported Tuesday. This is a strikingly low number, given that almost 38,000 residential eviction petitions in New York City since late June, when courts started accepting new cases. The disparity between forms and filings has spurred questions about whether courts and advocates have done enough outreach for tenants. Via Law360