Furious lawyers attempting to “lift hell” as MCC Lockdown enters Day 8 – NBC New York

What to know

  • Numerous pre-trial detainees moved from the Metropolitan Correctional Center to Otisville as the blockade of the MCC facility reaches its eighth day – all while continuing the search for an alleged contraband gun
  • Federal Defender Bureau chief David Patton says defense attorneys have not yet been able to meet most clients before the trial for the eight days the MCC was blocked
  • Investigators are focusing on the fact that a corrections officer at the MCC helped smuggle a gun to a prisoner, according to sources already reported in News 4

Numerous pre-trial detainees moved from the Metropolitan Correctional Center to Otisville as the MCC blockade reaches its eighth day – all while continuing the search for an alleged contraband gun.

The head of the Federal Defenders Office in Manhattan said many MCC detainees had been transferred to Otisville, including some that are scheduled to go to court Thursday and Friday.

David Patton, head of the Federal Defenders Office, said defense lawyers had not yet been able to meet most clients before the trial for the eight days the MCC was blocked.

“Let’s get in to see our clients,” Patton said Thursday, adding that defense attorneys are trying to “lift hell” with the MCC and through the courts to gain access to their clients.

Investigators are focusing on whether a corrections officer at the MCC helped smuggle a gun into a detainee, sources previously told News 4.

Defense attorneys representing MCC detainees who were questioned by the authorities earlier said that the focus is on this theory and subsequent investigations have left them unable to see their clients.

On Thursday, the MCC released a statement stating that lawyers could start meeting clients again on Friday, floor by floor. The prosecutor’s visit could be resumed next week.

The BOP says their officials met with the New York southern district chief judge, federal defenders, US marshals, and the U.S. attorney’s office to explain the ongoing issues.

The BOP and MCC claim that inmates regularly receive hot meals, have access to medical care and are now taking a rotating shower – a statement Patton said was inaccurate. He claims that many customers have been closed 24 hours a day in the past eight days.

In the meantime, the BOP said that more time is needed to complete an in-depth investigation. However, Patton said that the time taken is the result of “sheer incompetence and total lack of concern for constitutional rights and human conditions” for the defendants.

“It’s worse than the solitary confinement and the BOP doesn’t give a damn,” Patton said in an email to News 4.

That hunt for the alleged weapon forced extensive research into the facility, both in the common areas and in individual cells, and prompted federal officials to bring teams out of town to assist in the search. Meanwhile, as the probe continues, the detainees said they have been denied access to telephones, computers and showers and are getting cold sandwiches pushed through the food ports.

The BOP said that visits from detainees’ families and friends may resume later next week, or perhaps sooner.

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MCC enters block day 7, unclear when operations will return to normal – NBC New York

What to know

  • The Metropolitan Correctional Center has entered its seventh day of lockout – with no certain date in sight as to when the facility will return to normal operations, according to memos obtained from News 4
  • A detainee bulletin dated Tuesday said that “the SIS department is investigating and once we have collected the necessary information, the decision will be taken to bring the facility back to normal operations.”
  • Investigators are focusing on whether an MCC corrections officer helped smuggle a gun into a detainee, sources said earlier.

The blockade at the Metropolitan Correctional Center has entered its seventh day – with no certain date in sight as to when the facility will return to its normal operations, according to memos obtained from News 4.

A memo addressed to detainees on Tuesday says that “the SIS department is investigating and once we have gathered the necessary information the decision will be taken to bring the facility back to normal operations.”

The memo also states that “as long as the detainees continue to behave respectfully, we will attempt to return to normal as soon as possible without compromising security if the institution”.

“The decision to return the facility to normal operations has not yet been reviewed; however, the visit remains canceled,” says the memo in part. “I understand that this decision has adversely affected your detention period, however, please be aware that this decision was made to maintain the safety of staff and detainees.”

In a reminder dated February 27, also addressed to detainees, the MCC informs that “the institution has been placed in a locked state, as a result, all detainees will remain protected in their assigned cells until further notice”.

The MCC did not immediately respond to News 4 calls looking for comments.

A decision on returning the facility to normal operations has not yet been reviewed; however, the visit remains canceled.

Metropolitan Correctional Center memo for inmates

Investigators are focusing on the possibility that an MCC corrections officer helped smuggle a gun into a detainee, according to sources previously reported in News 4.

Defense attorneys representing MCC detainees who were questioned by the authorities earlier said that attention is focused on that theory and subsequent investigations have left them unable to see their clients.

These detainees – now potential witnesses in the investigation – tell their lawyers that the authorities are trying to confirm the theory and, if true, to find the weapon.

That gun hunt forced extensive research into the facility, both in the common areas and individual cells, and prompted federal officials to bring teams out of town to aid the search. Meanwhile, detainees say they are being denied access to telephones, computers and showers and are bringing cold sandwiches through the food doors.

The facility, the Prison Office and the United States Prosecutor’s Office have declined to comment on the suggestion that an officer may be involved. Calls to the union of officers were not returned.

The chief federal public defender in Manhattan, while not directly commenting on the theory of weapons, described the blockade as “inhuman” and “unconstitutional”.

“It’s totally unacceptable and part of a long history of mismanagement at the MCC,” said David Patton, executive director of the Federal Defenders of New York. “One of the biggest problems is the complete lack of transparency and explanation of what’s going on.”

The MCC has been under investigation since the accused child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide in his cell. Two BOP agents were subsequently arrested for alleged falsification of documents they had checked on Epstein when prosecutors said the guards were sleeping and shopping on their computers. They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

“While true, it’s not an excuse to close the whole place. They just need to put their records together,” said Patton on the contraband theory. “If it were a private company, they would be bankrupt by now. It’s as if the Three minions over there.”

Currently the MCC houses the famous lawyer Michael Avenatti, accused of stealing from client Stormy Daniels and convicted separately for shaking Nike. Lawrence Ray, the one-time informant against former NYPD commissioner Bernard Kerik, who is now accused of sexually abusing college-age girls, is currently at MCC. Ray denied the accusations.

Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was also hosted at the MCC before his conviction.

The BOP claims that around 700 inmates are housed in the MCC.

The director of the MCC has been moved as the investigation continues. In the meantime, the FBI broke into Epstein’s private villa in the Caribbean and President Trump had some curious words about the investigation. Reports Jonathan Dienst of New York NBC 4

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