Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today’s conviction in federal court of SIR MURRAY for witness tampering and conspiracy to commit witness tampering. MURRAY threatened, intimidated, and offered bribes to a sex trafficking victim for the purpose of inducing her to recant testimony she gave in a prior trial against a sex trafficker. The jury convicted MURRAY today following a three-day trial before U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Sir Murray’s conviction sends a clear message to the public that efforts to corrupt the criminal justice system will not be tolerated. Those who threaten, intimidate, or try to bribe witnesses will be held accountable, and those who engage in such efforts should be on notice that they will be brought to justice.”
According to the Indictment, documents filed previously in the case, and the evidence admitted at trial:
In fall 2021, MURRAY agreed with Justin Rivera, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking following a trial in the Southern District of New York in June 2021, to tamper with a victim (“Victim-1”) who testified at Rivera’s trial. MURRAY offered Victim-1 bribes, intimidated her, and threatened her for the purpose of persuading her to recant her testimony. In executing the plan, MURRAY directly contacted Rivera, who was in custody, exclusively through a contraband cellphone that Rivera maintained where he was in custody.
MURRAY and Rivera are both members of the Bloods street gang, and in his communications with Victim-1, MURRAY offered Victim-1 payment from “every Blood in [Long Island]” in exchange for Victim-1 recanting her testimony. MURRAY also sent Victim-1 multiple written messages containing veiled threats stating that MURRAY had done an “investigation” of Victim-1, knew where she lived, and knew that Victim-1 had a “beautiful son.”
MURRAY’s co-conspirator, Rivera, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking following a trial in June 2021 before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer. In October 2022, Judge Engelmayer sentenced Rivera to a prison term of 21 years. Having considered much of the same evidence presented to the jury at MURRAY’s trial, Judge Engelmayer stated at Rivera’s sentencing that “the facts . . . set out a blatant instance of post-trial witness tampering” that “was transparently aimed at subverting a justly returned conviction.”
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MURRAY, 31, of Suffolk County, New York, was convicted of one count of witness tampering in connection with a criminal case and one count of conspiring to do the same. The maximum sentence on both counts is life in prison.
The maximum sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge. MURRAY is scheduled to be sentenced on September 18, 2023.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the Suffolk County Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force.
This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas S. Burnett, Lisa Daniels, and Daniel H. Wolf are in charge of the prosecution, with the assistance of Paralegal Specialist Maria Gatica.