An attorney for the illegal alien charged with murdering 92-year-old Maria Fuertes in January says constant media coverage of the case is “poisoning public opinion” and could lead to an unfair trial.
Reeaz Khan, a 21-year-old illegal alien from Guyana, was arrested late last week and charged with sexually assaulting and murdering 92-year-old Maria Fuertes by strangling her to death on a sidewalk in Richmond Hill, Queens.
As Breitbart News exclusively reported, Khan first arrived in New York City on a B-2 tourist visa in May 2016 but never departed, overstaying his visa for three years. That violation of federal immigration law makes Khan an illegal alien.
In hearings last week, Khan’s attorney, Jonathan Latimer, pleaded with a judge to ban news cameras from the courtroom, claiming that a “poisoning of public opinion” due to the broad media attention the case has garnered could lead to a tainted jury pool and trial.
The New York Post reported:
“Enough is enough,” Khan’s lawyer, Johnathon Latimer, had asked the judge in seeking to have cameras barred from the courtroom during a brief pretrial hearing. [Emphasis added]
“In this particular situation, the public has been inundated with information about this case,” the lawyer complained. [Emphasis added]
“If there exists a presumption of innocence and due process … the court at some point has to become concerned about the poisoning of public opinion,” the lawyer complained. “At this point it’s just piling on and poisoning public opinion.” [Emphasis added]
Khan’s request to ban news cameras from the courtroom was quickly ruled out by the judge, who said “the public has the right to know” the details of the case.
Last month, Khan was indicted by a grand jury on 7-counts, including second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, first-degree attempted rape, first-degree sexual abuse, and tampering with physical evidence.
In the indictment, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz described the brutal attack on Fuertes which allegedly began when Khan charged at the elderly woman from behind and knocked her to the ground. Khan, according to prosecutors, then allegedly sexually assaulted her before attempting to strangle her to death.
Fuertes was found on the ground by residents passing by and was “barely conscious and incoherent” before she was rushed to a nearby hospital where she died as a result of the injuries.
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio (D) defended Khan’s prior release by the New York Police Department prior to the alleged murder, saying that criminal illegal aliens will only ever be turned over to ICE if they are convicted of victimizing Americans and that violent crime charges do not meet that threshold.
More than 7,500 criminal illegal aliens were released in the sanctuary state of New York in 2019 — including convicted murderers, convicted sex offenders, and convicted assailants.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.