Thursday, July 17, 2014

PUMP & DUMP Scheme Arraignment in Brooklyn Federal

Authorities unveiled criminal charges Thursday accusing seven people, including a banking executive once married to a star of "The Sopranos," of running a $300 million stock manipulation scheme that cheated elderly and other investors. Abraxas "A.J." Discala — the CEO of merchant banking firm OmniView Capital Advisors and former husband of Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who played Meadow Soprano on the hit HBO series — was charged in an indictment unsealed in Brooklyn, New York, with 10 criminal counts including securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy. Discala, 43, and the other defendants were accused of using "pump-and-dump" and other illegal tactics to artificially control prices and trade volumes in four companies from October 2012 to July 2014.

Only 3 of the defendants appeared today in Brooklyn Federal Court: Ira Shapiro, Victor Azrak, and Craig Josephberg. All defendants were given bail and were released. Judge Robert Levy presided over the arraignments. Turns out the Judge knows my work from the 1987 Billie Boggs case, he was Bogg's attorney and I covered that case.

Attorneys Eliot Sagor, Gregory Morvillo and their clients defendants Victor Azrak and Craig Josephberg

Judge Robert Levy

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Donald Sterling and wife, Rochelle on stand by Bill Robles

Bill Robles drew both Sterlings on the stand in a Los Angeles courtroom last week.
He not only drew them, but spoke with them.

Billl Robles quote :

My cousin Eddie Turbay went to grammar school, Jr. high school, and high school with the Sterlings.
In brief chats, I asked both Sterlings if they remembered Eddie, and they both had fond memories of him.
Donald Sterling on the stand by Bill Robles

Rochell Sterling on the stand by Bill Robles

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Donald Sterling and Wife in Court by Bill Robles

 Clipper owner Donald Sterling  in court in his attempt to save his stake in his NBA Team.
art, observation and story below.

 Bill Robles observations:
Donald Sterling,Tuesday July 8 this afternoon, just before taking the witness stand, in his trial. His wife is sitting across the aisle on the opposing side. He was most interesting, funny, and I think dominated the courtroom. Also Bill found out that his cousin went to grammar school with Sterling, it is a small world!


From SB Nation
Donald Sterling, the ousted 80-year-old majority owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, is nothing if not memorable. After a fiasco involving a racist tirade caught on tape, his lifetime ban from the NBA, and the sale of his team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Sterling has taken his wife Shelly to court in a last-ditch effort to save his stake in the $2 billion franchise. On Tuesday, Sterling testified in front of the courtroom and things quickly spiraled out of control.
Several notable reporters were in Los Angeles to cover the trial, including ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Arash Markazi, the L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke and Nathan Fenno and the Orange County Register's Dan Woike. Sterling's cross-examination by veteran barrister Bert Fields was the main show of the evening, which got weirder and weirder as the day wore on.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Rengan Rajaratnam, brother of Raj Rajaratnam, found not guilty

From the Wall Street Journal
Federal prosecutors suffered the first defeat in their half-decade-long crackdown on insider trading Tuesday with the acquittal of Raj Rajaratnam's younger brother, a bracing reversal after a string of 81 convictions.
The loss in some ways represented prosecutors' efforts coming full-circle: The original investigation into Rengan Rajaratnam's trading years ago kick-started a probe into his older sibling that ultimately uncovered a network of hedge-fund managers and analysts sharing confidential tips and produced convictions that shook Wall Street.

Rengan Rajaratnam far left with his defense team, Judge Naomi Buchwald presiding
It took a federal jury less than four hours to find Rengan Rajaratnam, 43 years old, not guilty of taking part in that conspiracy. The acquittal followed a rebuke of parts of the government's case by the judge who presided over the three-week trial, and comes as an appeals court is weighing a decision in a separate case that could raise the bar for prosecutors pursuing such crimes.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Drawn Downtown: Happy 4th of July

from Lower Manhattan!!

note: click on link above for more information about the mural
and click on the image to see it larger

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Argentina Bond Plan Violates Judge's Order

Argentine Bond Swap Plan Violates U.S. Orders, Judge Says 

by Bob Van Voris/Bloomberg News 

Judge Thomas Grisea during Argentina Bonds Hearing June 18, 2014

Today in a packed courtroom on the 26th floor of the Manhattan Federal Courthouse lawyers collided over the issue of the payment of debt by Argentina to various bondholders. The US Supreme Court refusing to hear the case, put the issue back into the court of Judge Thomas Grisea.  More on the story from Bloomberg News' Bob Van Voris.

Story Link:

 Griesa ordered Argentina to pay the holdout bondholders if it seeks to pay its restructured debt. His rulings remained in force as the U.S. Supreme Court this week refused to hear Argentina’s appeal.
“Negotiation is fine,” Griesa said. “As a judge, what I want is a legal mechanism to prevent another situation where the republic can simply laugh off another judgment.”
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said this week that complying with the ruling was impossible.
“The president’s speech is a problem,” Griesa said. It “really does not give me confidence in a good-faith commitment to pay all the obligations of the republic.”

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Front-row seats: Courtroom art by BBC's Peter Bowes

 BBC's Peter Bowes writes an insightful and 
extensive article about the recently published book
The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art 
 Link below:

Michael Jackson (Bill Robles)
Michael Jackson (Bill Robles)
A new collection of works by five of America's best-known courtroom artists showcases a unique art form. Peter Bowes takes a closer look.

Friday, June 6, 2014

AMERICAN LAWYER REVIEW: Legal Artistry: Courthouse Drama Drawn in Real Time


Legal Artistry: 

Courthouse Drama Drawn in Real Time

, The American Lawyer   

The U.S. Supreme Court famously remains a holdout against cameras in the courtroom, and so do most other federal courts. This may be hard to defend as a matter of policy, but it has preserved a space for the unsung art of courtroom illustrators.
Published in May by CUNY Journalism Press, "The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art," by artist Elizabeth Williams and crime writer Sue Russell, is a raucous celebration of five practitioners of this endangered workaday art. The moments captured here include everything, as one artist put it, "from celebrities, spies, terrorists, corporate corruption, political scandals, killers, mass murderers, celebrity custody hearings, to sex scandals, child molestation cases and military court martials." It's lucky the publisher was dissuaded from making this a children's book, as originally intended.
Court artists rival war correspondents as raconteurs, and grabbing details lurk on every page. Music fans may be stunned to hear that Black Panther Afeni Shakur was eight months pregnant with Tupac Shakur when acquitted of attempted murder. Anyone who has gone through the security checkpoints of today's courthouses will be bemused to learn that the Manson family members were permitted to carry long hunting knives into court so long as they were not concealed.
Here is a perfect match of artists and subjects: Elizabeth Williams on Martha Stewart and dapper John Gotti, Howard Brodie on Jack Ruby and the Watergate plumbers, Aggie Kenny on Jackie O. and Oliver North, Bill Robles on O.J. Simpson and Richard Tomlinson capturing a young David Boies.
Lawyers who treasure beauty should root for the Luddites in the courtroom camera debate. Court TV has been called many things, but it's never been called art.

Read more:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

DAILY BEAST FEATURES Celebrities in Court: 50 Years of Courtroom Illustrations

Article by Justin Jones of the Daily Beast

From Charles Manson to O.J, Michael Jackson to the Son of Sam, the drawings of courtroom artists capture the most dramatic, and sometimes the most moving and fleeting, images of the biggest trials of modern times.
In 1970, Charles Manson was tried in a Los Angeles courtroom for the murder of actress Sharon Tate, then eight months pregnant, and six other women. With no photographers allowed, the public relied on the words of reporters, describing the gruesome details and decisions held within the sanctified walls. For the really theatrical moments, however, the action was conveyed in illustrations by a group of courtroom artists capturing the drama the world may have never seen.


Charles Manson, 1970
Charles Manson holding up the LA Times that almost caused a mistrial by Bill Robles 1970

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Memorial Day is so much more than the backyard barbeque. It is a day when we honor those who have served our county. Below are images from the artists in the Illustrated Courtroom book, who
over the years have drawn various MOS:  Military, FDNY, NYPD.

 Howard Brodie drew countless war scenes for Yank Magazine and served in WW2. 
Many of his war drawings are in the Library of Congress.
Howard was also the subject of a great documentary about war artists titled They Drew Fire.
Below is a link about Howard and the PBS film.

Howard Brodie drawing of Guadalcanal  from the Library of Congress

Aggie Kenny drew 9/11 Responders searching for victims at Ground Zero in the months after the attack on the World Trade Centers. Her artwork was shown at the New York City Police Museum, and traveled to the US Senate Russell Building in Washington DC. 
Below is an article about her and her work in the Wall Street Journal

9/11 Responders drawn by Aggie Kenny: Firemen awaiting one of their fallen comrades 3/25/02

Bill Robles painted this illustration of the NYPD and other responders rescuing in the passengers and crew of US Airways flight 1549 that landed miraculously into the Hudson River on a frigid January day.  This illustration was shown at the New York City Police Museum, 
as part of a show titled The Police in Our Community

The rescue of Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in January 2009

YouTube video link of the audio tapes released  
We're Gonna Be In The Hudson

Elizabeth Williams drew a series of illustrations about the NYPD 
for the New York City Police Museum. Sample below:
Night watch on Broad Street, after 9/11

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Trailer For Dominique Strauss-Kahn Movie: Welcome To New York With Gerard Depardieu

Watch: Very NSFW Trailer For Abel Ferreras Dominique Strauss-Kahn Movie Welcome To New York With Gerard Depardieu|The Playlist

From the AFP story link:

It's the talk of the town. Abel Ferrara's highly-anticipated movie inspired by the sordid sex scandal that brought down IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn got its world premiere Saturday in Cannes.
Far from being shown in one of the big, plush theatres in the festival hall, the film starring Gerard Depardieu as a man with striking similarities to "DSK", whose alleged 2011 sexual assault on a New York hotel maid shook the world, was screened in a small, local cinema.
"Do you know who I am?" reads the poster advertising the film "Welcome to New York", as a handcuffed, suited man seen from behind faces flashing photographers with the gleaming lights of New York in the background.

Artist note:
Almost exactly three years ago on a Sunday just like this, I received a call from my assignment editor at CNBC telling me to get to the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse asap. The head of the IMF Dominique Strauss Kahn, had been arrested for sexually assaulting a hotel maid. This, like other stories I've covered like Bernie Madoff, sounded crazy.  We waited for over 12 hours in the criminal court arraignment part, and finally at about 10pm we were told the arraignment of DSK would take place the following day.
The following day, he was arraigned in a packed courtroom and I caught this scene of him awaiting his processing sitting with  the other inmates.
DSK Awaiting arraignment with inmates.
Then on Thursday his wife, Anne Sinclair arrived for a bail hearing in front of Judge Obus upstairs in the supreme court part of the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse. During the hearing Sinclair looked in utter shock. As DSK turned around to look at his wife and daughter, the daughter smiled, the wife, holding hands w her daughter, stared straight ahead.  He was finally granted bail and took up residence in a Tribeca townhouse with his wife. Eventually charges were dropped and he went back to Paris.

The initial hearing when Ann Sinclair and daughter came into court, this hearing is highlighted in the recent courtroom art book, The Illustrated Courtroom.

The drawing to the left in process, while DSK walks by the artist, going back into the lock-up during a courtroom recess

The photo by Richard Drew of the AP, reproduced on the front page of the New York Times business section

Friday, April 25, 2014

Famous case features in NY art show | The Royal Gazette:Bermuda News

Famous case features in NY art show | The Royal Gazette:Bermuda News

A mystery solved. The illustrations of the Bermuda Supreme Court below were not identified with any hearing details, only the lawyer names.  Quite by happenstance, the World Trade Art Gallery ( where the courtroom art show is on display) owner knew a lawyer who was able to track down the information based on just some key details. Story in the link above
and artwork below. All artwork was drawn for NBC Nightly News in 1986.

Attorney General Froomkin standing and Queens Council Smedley seated

Attorney General Saul Froomkin standing at lecturn by Elizabeth Williams

Thursday, April 24, 2014

How retired Justice Stevens would change the constitution: PBS Newshour feature story with Judy Woodruff

Justice John Paul Stevens 1975 confirmation hearing with Ted Kennedy seated second from left by Aggie Kenny

How retired Justice Stevens would change the constitution

From the Thirteen WNET website:  Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens talks to Judy Woodruff about his new book, “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution.” In his book, the 94-year-old liberal justice calls for major changes to the Constitution on issues such as the death penalty, firearms, redistricting and campaign finance.

Link to the story above.