Saturday, February 20, 2016

Kelly Soo Park [Uwaydah et. al] Fraud Case, Pretrial Hearing 5

Kelly Soo Park, in custody, 2015

UPDATE 7/13 Label: Corrected DDA Ma's first name to Kennes
UPDATE 7:45 PM edited for clarity, spelling, grammar
Friday, February 19, 2016

8:24 AM
I drove into downtown today, parking in an affordable lot in Chinatown. I feel I’m needing the exercise of an extra block walk to court. Besides, all the parking close to court, costs about $20.00 per day. I'm starting to feel a little more like myself since my graceful trip and fall four weeks ago.

On my walk towards the criminal court building, I see Lonce LaMon from and I wait for her to finish parking to walk in with her. On the Temple Street Plaza one of Park's defense attorneys, Mark Kassabian enters the courthouse right when I do.

8:30 AM - The 9th Floor
In the elevator up to 9, I saw Michael Gargiulo’s new counsel Dale Rubin.

 Ariel Newman, who is co-representing Paul Turley is already here. The court clerk unlocks the door for counsel to enter but the general public and press are not allowed in yet. 

Also on the floor is DDA Amy Ashvanian who is prosecuting the "Little Armenian" murders. Albert Harutyunyan [aka Alberd Tersargyan] is charged with four counts of first degree murder. It looks like there will be a hearing in that case also this morning.

8:35 AM - Arrivals
More defense counsel for the Park case arrive and try the door. It’s still locked. A set of prosecutors I’ve never seen before arrives and tries the door. There may be a slew of cases this morning.

8:50 AM - Inside Dept. 109
There are several cases being heard this morning.

Two of the prosecutors on the Uwaydah et. all /Park Fraud case are here. DDA’s Catherine Chon and Karen Nishita. I see the bailiff is letting defense attorneys [on another case] back into the custody area to speak to their client[s].

First Case
The first case is called. No resolution has been made between the parties.  A return date is picked and the hearing is over very quickly.

Lonnie Franklin, Jr.'s co-counsel Dale Atherton arrives with a scanner to scan the people’s Franklin exhibits in the jury room.

I see Harutyunyan's two defense counsel in the courtroom, Pete Warmin and Greg Apt with the Alternate Public Defender's Office.

DDA Dynan Mathai, [who I believe is lead prosecutor on the Uwaydah/Park] case arrives.

Second case - Little Armenia murders, Albert Harutyunyan
On the record in the second case. The interpreter is sworn in to translate English to Eastern and Western Armenian for the defendant.

The court asks about reports being prepared. They are not back in from the medical doctors.

The court states that the proceedings are going to remain suspended. When I hear that, I'm thinking California Penal Code section 1368.  This section of the code has to do with mental competency of the defendant. Section 1368(c) states that court proceedings are suspended until the defendant's competency to stand trial can be determined. There may be some other reason the proceedings are suspended, but in my mind, this is the most likely cause.

The court asks the parties if they have a date [to return]. Judge Kennedy tells the parties, "I do need it to be on a Friday." March 18 for court and counsel. Further proceedings for March 18. And that’s it.

Third Case - First Defendant

I remember seeing these two defendants last Friday. One of the defendants in a two defendant case is going to plead. When Judge Kennedy hears that she asks the bailiff, “Can we get [defendant’s name] out right away?” Then the court says to counsel, “When I hear those magic words, I want to get it done right away.”

The defendant will plead to voluntary manslaughter. The court is asking for the specific counts and what would the defendant get on those counts. The high term of 11 years for the gang allegation and an additional 10 consecutively for the gun. The defendant was arrested in 2010.

The judge reads through all the specific language of the individual’s rights, that the defendant must say on the record that he is giving up. The court makes sure that the defendant understands each and every right he has that he is giving up. The defendant pleads no contest to the charges.

 2,320 days credit. So, about six and a half years credit on a 21 year sentence.

Fourth Case
There is a probation violation case. The DDA from the prior case is asked by the court to stand in for the people. It's over pretty quick.

Third Case - Second Defendant
Second defendant in the third case. This defendant is also taking advantage of the people’s offer. The court asks the people to outline the amended charges. Amended count two for voluntary manslaughter. Gang allegation and firearms allegation. This defendant would also get 21 years.

We have a repeat of the first defendant giving up each and every right before the court will accept the plea agreement. The defendant waives time for sentencing. They are about to conclude when the court realizes they don't have the original date the defendant was arrested. That needs to be tracked down before the court can rule on the number of days credited in custody. The court interrupts this case to hear the Uwaydah et. al / Park case.

Fifth Case - Uwaydah et. al / Park Fraud Case BA425397 & BA
The court starts calling out the names of the many defendants. Matter of people vs. Paul Turley and Peter Nelson, Marisa Nelson and David Johnson....

DDA Chon informs the court that the hearing is only for defendants Forgar, Park and Arnold.

Defense attorney Ellyn Garofalo for defendant Tatiana Arnold [the attorney]. Defense atttorneys Jeffrey Isaacs and Akili Nickson for defendant Tony Folgar. Defense attorney Mark Kassabian for defendant Park, and standing in for counsel [named] for defendants Case and Maria Turley. Defense counsel Ariel Newman for defendant Paul Turley. The people state their appearances. There's also a counsel here for a Mark Engle [an uncharged, alleged co-conspirator].

The court asks, "What are we doing today?"DDA Chon replies the [parties filed] two proposals. There are some issues that the defense and people do not agree on. 

I believe Chon states there is a 1050 filing for the people’s [response to defense] 995. The people have heard from all but one defense attorney.

Judge Kennedy asks, "Can we take up the order first and what the parties can't agree on?"

DDA Dayan Mathai updates the court. [First] the deadline set for defense mid March for privileged docs to be produced, people [still say it will be] 10-15 weeks for them to be produced. Seems they should be ordered to produce it.

Second, the defense proposal as is, paragraph 9 in it, meant to include understood agreement by DA’s office not to argue, is any party has waived privilege as described in the order.

Other than that the two orders are essentially identical. There's one issue about cell phones. Those are the two main issues.

The timeline [for turning over discovery and privilege discovery] when proposed in Jan, we said it would take 12-15 weeks. It’s still going to take us 12 to 15 weeks.

The court asks, "Why would you not do anything between Jan and now?" DDA Mathai replies, "Your honor, we have been." It’s not fair. ... We’ve said 12 to 15 weeks. The people have to process this. DDA Mathai continues, "They [the defense] want the court to put on paper a deadline for us. We are putting a deadline. It’s going to take 12 to 15 weeks. ... We’re telling you up front. The people who are doing the work, they started within the last week. Because we [had? didn't have?] a written email from the defense to start. ... The difference that we're talking about is about two weeks. "All we’re asking is that the court says, not be put on paper. ... To give us a hard deadline, it’s impossible. It’s binding our hands just seems unnecessary to include that deadline."

"Second issue. ... When we were here originally the [order the] court is now signing is very different. The original protocol, Both Ms. Garofalo and Mr. Gluck's firm getting all the discovery, whether it pertains to Ms. Arnold or Mr. Turley ... In that structure we were talking about .... look, Mr. Gluck may see items that relate to Ms. Arnold that he doesn't represent. ... If the people are going to be asked to produce that, two separate lawyers, that may violate privilege. ... that [they?] acknowledge that [they're] going to be seeing some other counsel's stuff."

There is further explanation from the people. On this point of privilege, Ms. Arnold may represent privilege, her clients hold the privilege. The court asks, "Wasn’t that the whole point of this thing?"

Ms. Garofalo will only receive items from the search of Ms. Arnold. Mr. Gluck will only receive things related to Paul Turley.

The people continue to argue, "Now there’s not an overlap, we’re not asking for that issue on the record. Now they want to have the court say, on the record, to limit the people from ever arguing in the future about this privilege. ... [I] don’t think the court should give a written order that I’m prevented from an argument."

The court asks, "What paragraph?" Mr. Newman answers, "Paragraph 9." After looking over the defense's proposal for the court order, Judge Kennedy rules, "In terms of paragraph 9, I don’t like the language the DA should not argue. I think that I like better, following the protocol outlined in this order does not constitute a waiver of privilege."

DDA Mathai replies, "That’s fine your honor. ... That’s more acceptable to us. Implicit in this idea, if they see their things they’re not waving." DDA Chon, tells the court there is another attached protective order. The court replies, "I’m not signing any [other?] order today."

I believe DDA Mathai continues, "With location 13, we did have extensive arguments as to what that will mean. Our position [still is?] ... has not established as a threshold issue, whose items are in there. ... That we still have our arguments that other people's privilege that knowingly .. that haven’t asserted at this point. ... And [they?] have argued that the court should turn them over to them."

The court decides. "What I’m going to order in the revised order that complying with this protocol does not constitute a waiver of privilege. If you have other arguments then your going to make those arguments."

There is a bit more back and forth between the court and DDA Mathai about removing specific language. Since the date to come back in two weeks doesn't work for Newman's firm, they are asking to come back in three weeks, on March 11.

The next issue is for defendants on the smaller indictment [Arnold et. al BA435339].

Attorney Issacs on Folgar. [The court] gave us permission to file [995?] motion just to the tax charges in the Arnold indictment. Would [like to put up?] a briefing schedule in the morning. We will come to an agreement, so I hope we will come to an agreement.

The court asks, "Ms. Garofalo you’ve filed something? "It’s about the mayhem  charge only for Arnold." The court informs Garofalo that she has now read all of the transcripts on the smaller indictment.

The court asks about the 995 scheduling. There's back and forth about when the replies will be filed and when they will argue. It appears argument for 995 will be set for March 25.

Mark Kassabian brings up a housekeeping matter having to do with the February 26 date. Kassabian wants that date vacated for his client to come to court because now there's no appearance set. The new date for defendant's to appear is March 25.

DDA Chon believes there might be other clients that still need to waive. She requests the court that, before they waive that date, the people will check and inform the court. If they need anyone on the 26th, they will let the court know.

Ariel Newman tells the court the 1050 issue is just about the defense reply. Judge Kennedy tells the parties, "I think we are finished."

Attorney for Mr. Engle approaches on the motion to squash the people's subpoena on his client, Mark Engle.

The court states, "I have no idea who Mark Ingle or who he is to the case. ... I don’t have [a] copy to the subpoena."

Mr. Engle is a third party. DDA's Mathai and Chon for the people. 

Counsel for Mr. Engle speaks. Mr. Engle had invested in a Venture Business bank. There was a lawsuit against the bank for, one, cooking the books and [two?] the investment for all those people. I don’t know if he’s involved in the case at all, so that’s why we’re moving to quash the bank records for that period.

I believe DDA Mathai explains to the court. "He is essentially an unindicted co-conspirator. ... Part of our conspiracy [theory] and several overt acts. And essentially the overt acts are alleged to have been part of an overall scheme for Uwaydah and Associates to get a controlling interest in this bank. ... What we plan to prove at trial, not only the charged conspiracies, but other[s] joining in [on] that scheme, include Mr. Engle, an associate of Mr. Uwaydah, to get a controlling share of the bank and make it easier to move money. ... That's the background of Mr. Engles. ... The court has heard his name. ... He supplied a letter to the court of behalf of Ron Case, to reduce his bail and give consideration. ... He is connected to the group and not formally charged."

The court considers, "I wasn’t there so I don’t know. Defense?"

Mr. Engle's counsel: "I don’t know if he asked for an indictment against Mr. Engle or not. But in any event, all I've heard so far is speculation on the peoples part that there may be something in these [bank] records that may tie him to the group. That [does? doesn't?] get him past the search warrant. ... If they want to drag him in as a defendant ... they just don’t subpoena third party records. ... Hey if you bank with that bank, they are trying ..." [I miss the last of counsel's argument. It's something about if individuals bank at the same bank, then there must be a conspiracy.

DDA Mathai counters. "The SDT is very limited. ... It’s only covering the time of 2009 and 2010. I have it laid out in court [documents]. ... I have told the court that he is considered part of the scheme. He does have a connection to the conspirators and the court has gotten notice of that. ... Unsolicited from any of us. He volunteered a letter, of his relationship to Mr. Case. ... He said in a letter, [he was a] very close friend of Ron case for, I think, he said for 19 years. [They] spent a lot of time together. ... All of that is in sharp contrast to statements he provided to state regulators that he doesn’t have any relationship to all the other defendants. ... [We] also have his statement to investigators about Ron Case that are in sharp contrast to his letter to the court."

There's a bit more back and forth about who has a copy of what and if DDA Mathai got a copy of the motion to squash the subpoena.

Judge Kennedy states, "I think he’s has read it."

Engles's counsel continues to argue to squash the subpoena. "Mr. Engles is not in the indictment. He's not in either one that’s of the charged defendants. ... [This has]nothing to do with Mr. Engle. ... When a family member comes to Dept. 30 [arraignment court] for ten years ..." The court interrupts his soliloquy and asks, "Are you saying he’s a family member?"

Counsel continues, "No. When someone is vouching to set bail ... now Mr. Mathai says he can now look at their bank records. ... It’s different if they filed under penalty of perjury that they didn’t know each other. ...That’s fine if they plan on prosecuting. ..."

I believe the court asks, "How does subpoenaing these records advance the prosecution of this case?"

DDA Mathai tells the court, "As I said, we have a very large conspiracy. I put in every brief that I field in this court, the defendants charged are just a portion of the conspirators." Judge Kennedy counters, "That doesn't answer my question."

DDA Mathai continues his argument to deny squashing the subpoena. "There are connections between other non-indicted conspirators that it’s still continuing. By showing the pattern of investment and the relation of these other unindicted co-conspirators. The actions of Mr. Engle ... If Mr. Case is in trial, and one of the charge is, he [Engle?] doesn’t know anyone."

What he [Engle] said to the FDIC [was] how much he invested and [the people would ask?] where did he get his funds, I’m going to prove all of that to the jury . It’s very narrow [the subpoena]. It’s a distinct portion of time. 

It’s one group of individuals ... about half of them are before this court."

The court rules. "I think that the people have articulated a reasonable [argument] for action for the subpoena so the motion to quash is denied."

Mr. Engle's counsel makes a request of the court. "When documents are delivered to the court, what I’d like is to come back with the people and go through those documents with the court. There's nothing in those documents. ... When were here and the court has a chance to see it, that what [was] just presented in court is not what actually the reality is. ... We’re not going to keep subpoena records from Mr. Engle from eight years ago."

The court doesn't appear to agree with that. "I’ve made my ruling so I don’t intend to go through those records."

And that's it for the Uwaydah et. al /Park Fraud Case hearing. They return on March 11 for more pretrial.

Note from Sprocket
Lonce LaMon has graciously agreed to share some of the motions filed by the defense that she's purchased from the court. Most interesting are the letters of support that were written for Park and other defendants to get their bail reduced. As soon as I receive copies, I will upload to T&T's SCRIBD account and post links.