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United States v. Mahoney-Smith

United States District Court, District of Columbia

May 16, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
LATOYA MAHONEY-SMITH, a/k/a Mayaalla-MuQaddim bint Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud, a/k/a Mayaalla Al Saud, Defendant.

          DETENTION MEMORANDUM

          G. MICHAEL HARVEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court upon the application of the United States that Defendant, Latoya Mahoney-Smith, be detained pending trial pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142. Defendant is charged by indictment with one count of false impersonation of a foreign, diplomat, consul, or officer in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 915, one count of remaining on diplomatic, consular, or official property without authority in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 970(b)(2), and one count of Contempt of Court, in violation of D.C. Code § 23-1329. The Court held a detention hearing on May 10, 2018, at which Defendant represented herself, with stand-by counsel. At the conclusion of that hearing and upon consideration of the proffers and arguments of Defendant and counsel for the government, as well as the entire record herein, the Court ordered Defendant held without bond. This memorandum is submitted in compliance with the statutory obligation that “the judicial officer shall . . . include written findings of fact and a written statement of the reasons for the detention.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(i)(1).

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         At the detention hearing, the United States proceeded by proffer based on the indictment. The defense challenged the government's proffer, arguing primarily that she is not, in fact, the person who has been indicted. Unless stated otherwise, the following fact are undisputed.

         On February 23, 2018, Defendant went to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in the northwest quadrant of the District of Columbia, and left two black suitcases in front of the building, causing certain law enforcement agencies, including the United States Secret Service (that “Secret Service”) and the Metropolitan Police Department's Explosives Unit, to respond and, among other things, evacuate the area.

         Defendant returned to the Embassy on February 26, 2018. She identified herself as a Saudi citizen named Mayaala Al Saud, and refused to leave until she met with the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States, to whom she claimed she was related, to give him some classified documents in her possession. The Embassy's Chief of Security advised her that the Embassy's records did not confirm her story, and then called law enforcement. When a Secret Service officer arrived, he confirmed that Embassy staff had asked Defendant to leave, but she refused. Upon the officer's request, Defendant produced identification consisting of photocopies of documents seemingly from the Canadian government representing her name as Mayaalla-MuQaddim bint Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud and her birth date as September 19, 1978. She also claimed to be Deputy Crown Princess of Saudi Arabia. When the officer told her that Embassy personnel wanted her to leave the premises, she complied and stepped outside the building.

         Additional law enforcement officers who arrived later attempted to confirm the information she had given. The search of law enforcement records identified Defendant as Latoya Mahoney-Smith, with a birth date of September 16, 1974, and confirmed that the name she had given to the Secret Service was a known alias for Defendant. Law enforcement also confirmed an outstanding warrant for Defendant's arrest issued in the State of Florida and charging Defendant with violating the terms of her probation stemming from her conviction on 24 counts of aggravated stalking. Secret Service officers then arrested Defendant, who became agitated and threatened to kill them.

         On February 27, 2018, Defendant was charged in D.C. Superior Court with attempted threats to do bodily harm and unlawful entry, both in violation of provisions of the D.C. Code. She was then arraigned and released on conditions, including that she stay away from the Saudi Arabian Embassy.

         After her release, Defendant continued to use her alias as Deputy Crown Princ ess to att empt to gain access to various diplomatic events in the District of Columbia involving Saudi Arabian officials, including by contacting the Assistant U.S. Attorney (“AUSA”) assigned to her Superior Court case, the judge in her Superior Court case, Judge Weisberg, the State Department's Office of the Chief of Protocol, and the White House. She represented that she was part of an official delegation of Saudi Arabian officials who were to attend a meeting between the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the President of the United States.

         On March 23, 2018, Defendant appeared before Judge Weisberg for the initial status hearing in her Superior Court case. Judge Weisberg allowed her to remain released pending trial but ordered her to stay away from employees and officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and prohibited her from approaching within approximately 100 yards of the Embassy. On April 13, 2018, Defendant sent an email to Judge Weisberg's chambers seeking to return to the Embassy and indicating that she had diplomatic immunity as the Deputy Crown Princess of Saudi Arabia. At an April 20, 2018 status hearing, Defendant was again ordered to stay away from the Embassy and Saudi Arabian employees and officials. She later communicated with the AUSA in her Superior Court case claiming again that she had diplomatic immunity as a member of the Saudi Arabian royal family and indicating her intention to return to the Embassy to obtain a temporary Saudi Arabian passport. She was warned off by the prosecutor, who reminded her of the stay-away order.

         Nevertheless, on May 7, 2018, Defendant called the Secret Service's Control Center to inform them she was returning to the Embassy to pick up her personal property, and that she wanted an officer to escort her. She was warned that she would not be allowed to enter the Embassy. Later that day, but during business hours, a Secret Service officer was called to the Embassy and found Defendant standing in front of the property, approximately fifty-three feet from the Embassy's property line, and within 100 yards of the Embassy and the employees working within. Upon a request from law enforcement, Defendant produced identification consisting of a D.C. Department of Corrections Identification Card and a Library of Congress Card. The Identification Card had a fictitious social security number-one associated with twenty-nine individuals, none of whom are Defendant-a false date of birth, and the address of the Saudi Arabian Embassy as her home address. After she was arrested, Defendant again stated that she was a diplomat and citizen of Saudi Arabia. Officers confirmed via State Department records that she was not a diplomat.

         B. Defendant's Criminal History

         Defendant has a long criminal history. Most recently, she was arrested, as outlined above, for attempted threats to do bodily harm and unlawful entry on February 26, 2018. She was on release pending trial in that case when she engaged in the conduct at issue here, which includes violation of the stay-away order entered in that case. She was convicted by a Florida court in December 2007 for stalking, aggravated stalking, and contempt. The outstanding Florida warrant, which was issued in June 2017, stems from her failure to appear for a required appearance related to her probation in that case. Also in Florida, she was convicted in 2006 for stalking and trespass, twice in 2004 for fraud-swindle, and once in 2004 for stalking and fraud-impersonation. She further has arrests for other crimes, such as for forgery in St. Croix.

         LEGAL ...


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