Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Savings and loan figure Charles Keating dies at 90

Savings and loan figure Charles Keating dies at 90

sentencing hearing of Charles Keating drawn by Bill Robles

Charles Keating  was a major player in the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980's and early 90's.  Keating was a banker who ran American Continental/Lincoln Savings and Loan which went bankrupt. Many investors lost their life savings.   His involvement with 5 US Senators, dubbed the Keating Five ignited a huge scandal.

Story link

Joseph  W. Cotchett who represented the bondholders had represented years
earlier the Los Angles Ram football team and owner Georgia Frontiere
during the lawsuit of Al Davis and the Raiders vs the NFL. Both the
Raiders and the Rams wanted to move their teams. Al Davis won his lawsuit, moved his team to LA, but finally moved the  Raiders are back to  Oakland, after he could never get a new football stadium built, in the LA area.

 Los Angeles no longer has a football team.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Feds praise conviction of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law - Tulsa World: News

Feds praise conviction of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law - Tulsa World: News

The verdict in the Abu Ghyth trial was rather quick. The verdict was read by the courtroom deputy Andrew Mohan and because it was only 3 counts, was over in a flash. The jury was not polled, the judge thanked them and then excused the jury, it was done.

Abu Ghayth  verdict

AUSA John Cronan closing statement 

 Abu Ghayth is pictured on screen with Osama Bin Ladin, one day after the attacks on 9/11.
All videos shown during the closing statement of Abu Ghayth speaking in support of Al Qaeda and their goal to kill Americans,  were broadcast via Al Jazeera.

US Attorney Preet Bharara makes a rare courtroom appearance to see the closing statements, March 24, 2014

click on an image to see it larger. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Madoff Employees found Guilty of all charges

From the Wall Street Journal
Computer programmers Jerome O'Hara, 51 years old, and George Perez, 48, were convicted in federal court in Manhattan of creating phony customer accounts, while portfolio managers Annette Bongiorno, 66, and JoAnn Crupi, 53, were convicted of concocting phony trading records. Daniel Bonventre, 67, a former operations director for Mr. Madoff, helped gin up false books and records, the jury found.

Courtroom deputy Lisa Ng reads verdict while the court stenographer records, as the prosecution team, looks on.
Artwork by Elizabeth Williams

Defendants seated while jury verdict is read by courtroom deputy, 
Joann Crupi seated left with clasped hands and Annette Bongiorno seated right in tan chair 

From Bloomberg story by Erik Larson( Larson covered the trial for 5 months)

U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain, who oversaw the trial, ruled that the ex-employees may remain free on bail until sentencing and must wear electronic monitors. Bongiorno and Bonventre are set to be sentenced on July 28; Crupi and O’Hara on July 29 and Perez on July 30. The defendants face as many as 20 years in prison on the most serious count of securities fraud.
Some of the defendants lowered their heads as the verdict was read. Crupi clasped her hands while Bongiorno wrote on the verdict sheet, nodding as each count was read. The jury was comprised of eight women and three men.

Bloomberg juror story by Patty Hurtado and Erik Larson. 

More story links

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Iran-Contra Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh Dies At 102 -

Iran-Contra Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh Dies At 102 -

The Iran Contra case is featured in the upcoming book, The Illustrated Courtroom .  Below is a rare depiction  of the independent prosecutor Lawrence Walsh in the courtroom during the Iran Contra proceedings.  Though Walsh was the special prosecutor pursuing the investigation and prosecution of the case,  he rarely made a court appearance.  One key issue for Walsh was whether Ronald Reagan would testify at the trials and indeed he did at the John Poindexter trial; a battle Walsh finally won. Images from that trial with Reagan giving his televised testimony  are featured in the book
All artwork by Aggie Kenny

Iran Contra story from the New York Times

Lawrence Walsh and Judge Gerhard Gesell during Iran Contra court proceeding by Aggie Kenny

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Osama bin Laden's son-in-law surprises courtroom with testimony - News -

Photo By Elizabeth Williams/AP 
In this courtroom sketch Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, right, testifies at his trial Wednesday, March 19, 2014, in New York, on charges he conspired to kill Americans and aid al-Qaida as a spokesman for the terrorist group. Listening to testimony are Judge Lewis Kaplan, upper left, and clerk Andrew Mohan, center left, as an image of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-professed architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, appears on a video monitor. In his surprise testimony, Abu Ghaith recounted the night of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when bin Laden sent a messenger to drive him into a mountainous area for a meeting inside a cave in Afghanistan

Ex-al-Qaida spokesman recalls 9/11 with bin Laden

Ex-al-Qaida spokesman recalls 9/11 with bin Laden

In this courtroom sketch, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law Sulaiman Abu
Ghaith, right, testifies at his trial Wednesday, March 19, 2014, in New
York, on charges he conspired to kill Americans and aid al-Qaida as a
spokesman for the terrorist group. Listening to testimony are Judge
Lewis Kaplan, center, and defense attorney Stanley Cohen, at podium. In
his surprise testimony, Abu Ghaith recounted the night of the Sept. 11,
2001, attacks, when the al-Qaida leader sent a messenger to drive him
into a mountainous area for a meeting inside a cave in Afghanistan. "Did
you learn what happened? We are the ones who did it," Abu Ghaith,
recalled bin Laden telling him. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

Monday, March 17, 2014


UPDATE one of the Jurors was excused because of an illness, and now the jury is deliberating
with just 11 jurors.

Today after 5 months,  the jury in the trial of Bernard Madoff's secretary, his director of operations, an account manager and two computer programmers, began deliberating. Over 40 witnesses testified in a trial of remarkable size and scope. Several unusual aspects to the trial:
·         2 defendants testified in their own defense
·         the trial took place in the same courtroom where Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison
·         The judge in the case, kept a very collegial  atmosphere, and lawyers conferred upon objections, working out their differences far away from the eyes and ears of the jury in the giant ceremonial courtroom, only on occasion did the judge need to rule.
·         one of the defendants was given a special chair to make it easier to sit through out the long drawn out case
·         Star witness Frank DiPascali testified on the stand for 14 days, which spanned from 2013 into 2014.

Reuters story about jury deliberations

Below are some select images from the trial that touch upon some key moments during the 5 month trial
AUSA Matthew Schwartz gives opening statement October 16, 2013

USA Today story link about opening statements

Defense table, defendants with attorneys in ceremonial courtroom Manhattan Federal Court 
Defense Attorney Larry Krantz cross examines Frank DiPascali
 USA Today story link about DiPascali testimony

AUSA Randall Jackson cross examines defendant Daniel Bonventre

Defense attorney Roland Riopelle questions his client and defendant Annette Bongiorno

Daniel Bonventre seated far left with defense team, conferring, before trial.

AUSA Randall Jackson gives closing statement ( far right) with defense table left
prosecution table, right. 

Judge Laura Taylor Swain

All Artwork by Elizabeth Williams 

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Tonight (Sunday) at 9pm EST, 
CNN will air the first in a series of ground breaking documentaries 
produced by Robert Redford and  Alex Gibney, narrated by Susan Sarandon titled 
Death Row Stories.
The show includes images by Aggie Kenny as they were created.
Here are her recollections and insights in to the process of working on the show. 

I was given the task of recreating scenes from the 1982 and 1995 trials of Edward Elmore as well as the  4th  Circuit Appellate hearing before a 3 judge panel. Starting with blank, white watercolor paper, cameras were trained on my drawing and painting process for many hours. Although I was given photo reference, this experience was very different from that in thecourtroom, my normal venue. Although subjects are in constant motion in the courtroom, I find drawing from life much easier. Points of reference, gesture, color, clothes, etc. are thereto draw, whereas recreations require more imagination and research. AK

Edward Elmore on the stand, recreated by Aggie Kenny

For more information on the show,
CNN link 

Sunday, March 2, 2014


The late Richard Tomlinson’s award winning work has been exhibited at The Museum of Television and Radio, The Society of Illustrators, The Art Directors Club, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Syracuse University, and at Rutgers University Law Library where it is on loan for permanent exhibition. Tomlinson’s extensive trial credits include the Black Panther 21, David ‘Son of Sam’ Berkowitz, and the trials of Robert Chambers, Abscam, Jack Henry Abbott, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Jean Harris, Bernhard Goetz, and John Gotti He was featured in Art In America, New York Newsday, and Illustrators in America. His entire collection of courtroom art has been acquired by the John Jay School of Criminal Justice.

Author note: On top of covering major historic NYC cases and trials, Richard Tomlinson was always drawing in court, whether it was for the news or not. He was inspired by many things, a typewriter, a stenographer, a generic court scene, 
in one case he used a court stamp to add interest
to his drawing. Below are drawings that have never been published before, scenes that Richard found compelling. 
Court stenographer: Black Panther trial 1970

Un-named participants during Black Panther trial 1970

Print of items in the press room at 100 Centre Street, Manhattan Criminal Court 1984
Courtroom scene with stamps 7/11/1985

Court Stenographer: Alice Crimmins trial 

Typewriter  in press room 1970

Un-named defendant 1989

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

COYOTE VS ACME the 14 year old "lawsuit" filed in the New Yorker 2/26/1990

                                              Friz Freeling and Chuck Jones created iconic cartoon characters and images.
Fourteen years ago a  brilliant piece of satire titled Coyote vs Acme
was written by  Ian Frazier and published in 
The New Yorker, February 26, 1990, p. 42--43.
 This is the one spot the courtroom and those cartoons meet.

Below is a selection from the article and the link:

Also below is a choice video:
Acme Batman Outfits:
Guaranteed for the Life of the User

Acme Rocket Skates
Coyote V. Acme
Wile E. Coyote, Plaintiff
Acme Company, Defendant

Opening Statement of Mr. Harold Schoff, attorney for Mr. Coyote:

My client, Mr. Wile E. Coyote, a resident of Arizona and contiguous states, does hereby bring suit for damages against the Acme Company, manufacturer and retail distributor of assorted merchandise, incorporated in Delaware and doing business in every state, district, and territory. Mr. Coyote seeks compensation for personal injuries, loss of business income, and mental suffering causes as a direct result of the actions and/or gross negligence of said company, under Title 15 of the United States Code, Chapter 47, section 2072, subsection (a), relating to product liability.

Mr. Coyote states that on eighty-five separate occasions he has purchased of the Acme Company (hereinafter, "Defendant"), through that company's mail-order department, certain products which did cause him bodily injury due to defects in manufacture or improper cautionary labeling. Sales slips made out to Mr. Coyote as proof of purchase are at present in the possession of the Court, marked Exhibit A. Such injuries sustained by Mr. Coyote have temporarily restricted his ability to make a living in his profession of predator. Mr. Coyote is self-employed and thus not eligible for Workmen's Compensation.

Mr. Coyote states that on occasions too numerous to list in this document he has suffered mishaps with explosives purchased of Defendant: the Acme "Little Giant" Firecracker, the Acme Self-Guided Aerial Bomb, etc. (For a full listing, see the Acme Mail Order Explosives Catalogue and attached deposition, entered in evidence as Exhibit C.) Indeed, it is safe to say that not once has an explosive purchased of Defendant by Mr. Coyote performed in an expected manner. To cite just one example: At the expense of much time and personal effort, Mr. Coyote constructed around the outer rim of a butte a wooden trough beginning at the top of the butte and spiraling downward around it to some few feet above a black X painted on the desert floor. The trough was designed in such a way that a spherical explosive of the type sold by Defendant would roll easily and swiftly down to the point of detonation indicated by the X. Mr. Coyote placed a generous pile of birdseed directly on the X, and then, carrying the spherical Acme Bomb (Catalog #78-832), climbed to the top of the butte. Mr. Coyote's prey, seeing the birdseed, approached, and Mr. Coyote proceeded to light the fuse. In an instant, the fuse burned down to the stem, causing the bomb to detonate.

In addition to reducing all Mr. Coyote's careful preparations to naught, the premature detonation of Defendant's product resulted in the following disfigurements to Mr. Coyote:

1              Severe singeing of the hair on the head, neck, and muzzle.
2              Sooty discoloration.
3              Fracture of the left ear at the stem, causing the ear to dangle in the aftershock with a creaking noise.
4              Full or partial combustion of whiskers, producing kinking, frazzling, and ashy disintegration.
5              Radical widening of the eyes, due to brow and lid charring.

Note the lawsuit is still awaiting a ruling,  hopefully some day to be continued. 
Laugh on!