People around the world are becoming increasingly concerned by the rapid spread of COVID-19. This includes prisoners held in county jails. As the state of New Jersey aims to prevent a tidal wave of infections by going on lockdown, BitClub Network crypto scammers beg a court to release them to avoid ‘inevitable’ infection.
BitClub Network Crypto Scammers Plead for Release
Two men accused of scamming investors out of more than $722 million through a Ponzi scheme called BitClub Network have both begged a New Jersey federal court to allow them temporary release.
Matthew Brent Goettsche and Jobadiah Sinclair Weeks have filed several motions over the last four days citing concerns about their health amid the growing COVID19 pandemic.
According to Law360, their attorneys claim that the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, New Jersey has “an exceptionally poor record of maintaining detainee health.” Rodney Villazor, the attorney representing Goettsche warned the court that:
It is not a matter of ‘if,’ but ‘when’ the DOC has its own COVID-19 outbreak… Once the virus is introduced, it will be nearly impossible to stop its spread… The risk to Mr. Goettsche’s health and safety grows with each day that he remains incarcerated at the DOC.
Weeks’ representatives also cited the same claims. They pointed to this particular facility as being especially at risk due to multiple health and safety-related issues. These include “leaks causing mold and mildew growth ‘in every housing unit holding detainees,'” and “‘raw, spoiled, or expired’ meat, ‘raw chicken,’ ‘expired and moldy bread.’” The brief added:
Given the noted risks of illness through inadequate food service and environmental safety at the Essex County Correctional Facility, a swift outbreak of COVID-19 at the facility is virtually inevitable.
Unable to Prepare Defense Case
On top of the concern for the two men’s’ health, their attorneys point to the fact that if they remain behind bars, meeting with their legal counsel is practically impossible. This could severely impede Goettsche and Weeks from being able to prepare their defense cases. Guidelines currently “severely limit” attorney visits to the facility. According to Goettsche’s lawyer:
This means we will only learn whether we can or cannot have a contact visit with Mr. Goettsche on site, upon physically appearing at the DOC.
Moreover, amid stronger restrictions on movement in the state, the men (crypto scammers or no) are caught between a rock and a hard place. They can meet with attorneys in closed quarters to review electronic material and risk infection, or “forgo their rights to a speedy and public trial.”
The correctional facility in question is also considering a 23-hour lockdown to avoid the spread of the virus. However, Weeks’ lawyers on Monday pointed out:
Mr. Weeks cannot access this information electronically; he cannot participate in an online/virtual meeting with counsel… In short, continued detention of Mr. Weeks during this pandemic cripples his ability to participate in the development of his defense.
Weeks attorney told Law360 on Monday:
These are scary times for everyone, and especially for people who are not allowed to protect themselves in the ways the rest of us are trying to. Joby Weeks just wants to stay healthy and be in a place where he can safely prepare for his day in court.
Do you think the two defendants deserve to be temporarily released to avoid the coronavirus? Add your thoughts below!
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