New York attorneys indicted over Molotov cocktail hope to end plea talks soon

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An NYPD police car is set on fire as protesters clash with police during a death march in custody of George Floyd in Minneapolis, in the Brooklyn neighborhood of New York, the United States, May 30, 2020 . REUTERS / Jeenah Moon / File Photo

  • Defense attorney for suspended Pryor Cashman partner Colinford Mattis briefs court on plea talks
  • Mattis and Urooj Rahman face mandatory minimum sentence of 45 years in prison if convicted at trial

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Sept. 17 (Reuters) – Two New York lawyers accused of attacking an empty police vehicle with a Molotov cocktail during the 2020 protests against the death of George Floyd hope to complete plea talks with prosecutors in the next two weeks, according to a defense attorney.

In February, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn extended plea offers to Pryor Cashman’s partner Colinford Mattis and suspended public interest lawyer Urooj Rahman. At a hearing in July, a prosecutor set Friday as the deadline to accept a deal.

At the time, plea talks stalled, prompting U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan to argue for a trial in March. Defense lawyers during this hearing discussed filing pre-trial motions challenging the charges.

Sabrina Shroff, Mattis’ lawyer, has asked to extend Friday’s deadline for filing such motions until October 1 to “allow the parties to continue and hopefully complete the plea discussions.” in a letter Thursday on behalf of the defense and the government.

“The government has demanded that plea negotiations end before pre-trial motions are filed, and the parties hope to do so,” she wrote.

Shroff and Paul Shechtman, Rahman’s attorney at Bracewell LLP, did not respond to the request for comment on Friday.

A spokeswoman for acting U.S. lawyer Jacquelyn Kasulis made no comment. Prosecutors said their plea offers included less jail time that lawyers could incur if they stand on trial.

Rahman and Mattis each face life imprisonment and a mandatory minimum sentence of 45 years if convicted of seven counts, including use of explosives, arson and use of a device. destructive. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Mattis, an associate at Pryor, was laid off in April 2020 as part of a cost-cutting measure related to the COVID 19 pandemic and suspended after his arrest in May 2020. Rahman has represented tenants in the Bronx as a public interest lawyer.

Prosecutors charged Rahman with throwing a bottle containing gasoline into an empty police vehicle through an already broken window and attempting to distribute Molotov cocktails to other people, then fleeing into a van driven by Mattis.

The incident came amid protests in Brooklyn over the death of Floyd, a black man, who died in Minneapolis below the knee of a white police officer, an incident that sparked widespread protests against racism and police violence.

The attorneys were indicted under the Trump administration, which emphasized crime-suppressing policies, but their plea offers fell under the new Biden administration, which is committed to criminal justice reform and combating it. systemic racism.

Supporters of the lawyers called the aggressive lawsuits by the US Department of Justice against the two lawyers an attempt to stifle dissent against police brutality and claimed they had been overcharged.

The case is US v. Mattis et al, US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, No. 20-cr-203.

For the United States: Ian Richardson and Jonathan Algor of the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

For Mattis: Sabrina Shroff of the law firms of Sabrina P. Shroff.

For Rahman: Paul Shechtman of Bracewell and Peter Baldwin of Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath.

Related stories:

Plea talks stall for New York attorneys indicted over Molotov cocktail, trial date set

Report by Nate Raymond in Boston

Nate raymond

Nate Raymond is newsletter editor and lead author of The Daily Docket newsletter and also covers litigation. He can be reached at [email protected]


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