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From the witness testimony of NCIS special agent John C. Little, given in North Carolina in August 2021 during the detention hearing of Joseph Maurino, a New Jersey national guardsman charged with supplying neo-Nazis with untraceable weapons. Maurino is awaiting trial.

prosecutor: Do you have concerns?

agent john c. little: There are unaccounted for weapons. The number of weapons described in the Signal group we have not recovered.

prosecutor: No further questions, your Honor.

judge: I have a follow-up question.

prosecutor: About what?

judge: “Got seven MAC-11s, about eight .38s, nine 9s.” Are we looking for those firearms?

prosecutor: I don’t know.

judge: This is the government’s Exhibit 8 where it says, “I’ve got seven MAC-11s, about eight .38s, nine 9s.” That’s a rap lyric.

prosecutor: I’m—

judge: The Court’s independently aware of that.

prosecutor: I’m not understanding. I apologize.

judge: If you look on page eight—

prosecutor: Yes.

judge: Where he says, “I’ll need a list of ammo to get.” Then says, “I’ve got seven Mack 11s, about eight .38s, nine 9s.” It seems to me like he’s just tossing a Biggie Smalls lyric into the chat.

prosecutor: I am still not understanding.

judge: Biggie Smalls is a dead rapper.

prosecutor: Oh.

judge: It’s a lyric from a song by a dead rapper.

prosecutor: Got it.

judge: There is a lot going on here. But that is not compelling.

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May 2023

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