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Judge Cote

PETITIONER SOUGHT a writ of habeas corpus challenging his 1996 murder conviction following a jury trial, asserting that the trial court erroneously denied his pretrial suppression motion without a hearing, that evidence of an uncharged drug crime was improperly admitted at trial, and that the prosecutor made improper remarks during the opening and closing statements that deprived petitioner of a fair trial. The instant court adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation for denial of the petition. The court ruled that although both New York and federal law prohibit the use of evidence of uncharged crimes to show a defendant’s propensity for criminal activity, the magistrate judge correctly found that the evidence relating to the drug connection between petitioner and others was properly admitted to explain the unique relationship between petitioner and the witnesses, and because it was inextricably interwoven with the narrative of events.

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