Wednesday, November 25, 2015

DAILY NEWS: DraftKings and FanDuel spar in court with Attorney General's office, argue fantasy sports aren't gambling

Forget the football field.
This week’s best matchup might be the one between the fantasy football giants and the prosecutors trying to shut them down.
Lawyers for DraftKings and FanDuel went head-to-head Wednesday with prosecutors from the state Attorney General’s office over whether the popular online sports leagues are actually gambling dens in disguise.
The daily fantasy companies shared an hour of oral arguments among litigation heavyweights David Boies, John Kiernan and Randy Mastro, while Kathleen McGee — chief of the attorney general’s Internet bureau — argued on behalf of the state.

Court art below from today's hearing. Click on a picture to view larger.

Kiernan argued that daily fantasy requires skill “by any reasonable definition” because of the evidence showing result differentiation, the replication of success or failure and participants’ improvement over time.

“The dispersion of results  that is, the actual people who win time after time — is wholly inconsistent with it being a game of chance and
\with it being anything other than a game of extreme skill,” Boies said 
Mastro referred to a precedent from a New York case about a horse owner in the Belmont Stakes, in which the court deemed the owner's entry fee and chance at a prize not to be gambling. The owner hires a trainer and a jockey who control the subsequent actions.
McGee said in arguing the state's case that the only skill demonstrated by daily-fantasy players is “skill at gambling.” New York law deems a contest to be gambling if it depends on chance to a material degree, even though some skill is necessary.

The burden of proof rests with the attorney general’s office which contends that, while season-long fantasy sports are legal under state law, daily fantasy is materially a game of chance and should be deemed illegal gambling. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

NY Observer: Prosecution and Defense Deliver Closing Statements in Sheldon Silver Case by Ross Barkin

Steven Molo gives closing statement describing the prosecutor's case " A theory in search of a case"

Mr. Molo’s argument boiled down to the prosecution failing repeatedly to prove explicit bribery in either the asbestos or real estate schemes. He called the real estate allegations “bizarre,” contending that Mr. Silver was a pro-tenant speaker who did not make rent regulations, particularly when they were up for state renewal in 2011, weaker on behalf of major developers. He said the reason the small real estate law firm, Goldberg & Iryami, was steered so much business was because they did “good work.”
He maintained that federal prosecutors simply didn’t like how politics in Albany worked, and built a case around that. Part-time legislators are allowed to earn outside income, he said, and “it’s okay to be motivated by the money” as long as no laws are broken.
“Was there an illegal quid pro quo? The answer to that is no,” he said.
NY Observer Link

NY Times: Jury Hears Closing Arguments in Sheldon Silver Corruption Trial By Ben Weiser and Susanne Craig

A federal prosecutor( Andrew Goldstein, pictured)  told a jury on Monday that Sheldon Silver, the former speaker of the New York State Assembly and once one of the state’s most powerful politicians, had made millions of dollars through two corrupt schemes and should be convicted of all seven of the counts against him. 

What you heard during this trial is what Sheldon Silver secretly has been doing for years: Cheating, lying and getting away with it,” the prosecutor, Andrew D. Goldstein, said in a closing argument as Mr. Silver’s three-week corruption trial neared its conclusion in Federal District Court in Manhattan

In the summation, which lasted for three hours and took up the court’s morning session, Mr. Goldstein methodically reviewed the government’s evidence that Mr. Silver had obtained nearly $4 million in illegal payments in exchange for taking official actions that benefited a cancer researcher, Dr. Robert N. Taub, at Columbia University, and two separate real estate developers, Glenwood Management and the Witkoff Group.
Mr. Goldstein said it was clear that Mr. Silver had set up the quid pro quo schemes and had been “motivated by the money.”
“It’s totally obvious,” he continued.

NYT story link:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

NY TIMES: Car-Scent Rivals Fight in Trademark Suit and Familiar Tree Prevails in Car-Scent Suit by Andy Newman

 NY Times story by Andy Newman
 Verdict story
Opening statements story


In the legal battle of the hanging automotive air fresheners,  all that is little are the trees.
At one table in a federal courtroom in Lower Manhattan on Monday sat representatives of the Car-Freshner Corporation of Watertown, N.Y., makers of a product familiar to anyone who has ever ridden in a cab or wanted their car to smell like one.
It is called Little Trees. The company’s logo is a mighty pine. Car-Freshner asserts in court papers that the look of its products is associated by the general public “with the concepts of freshness, cleanliness and pleasing scents.”
A lawyer for Car-Freshner, Jonathan Z. King,( pictured) told the eight jurors in his opening statement: “Those similarities are no accident. They’re a matter of design.”He also suggested that Exotica’s fresheners were inferior and that their presence weakened Car-Freshner’s brand.

At the other table were arrayed the legal forces of Exotica Fresheners Company of Holland, Ohio, maker of a competing product that hangs from considerably fewer rearview mirrors.
Car-Freshner, in addition to seeking an order that Exotica stop using a design that infringes on their trademark, seeks an unspecified amount of money. The trial is expected to take four days.
For all the similarities, an intellectual property professor at New York University’s law school, Christopher Sprigman, said Car-Freshner seemed to have a tough case.
They will have to show, he said, “that people will confuse the very different shape of the defendant’s air fresheners and treat them as if they came from the same source.” “I’m pretty skeptical of this claim,” he added.
Mr. Antonucci, with Exotica, made a similar point. He noted that consumers were not looking only at the yellow card but also at the whole product.
“Maybe maple versus oak, since I’m not a horticulturalist, that I could understand,” he said. “Pine versus palm? Please. The Pepsi swoosh versus the Coke swoosh? I think we can see the difference.”

Update: NPR interview 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

“Goodfellas” Mobster Aquitted In Famous 1978 Lufthansa Heist

“Goodfellas” Mobster Aquitted In Famous 1978 Lufthansa Heist

Vincent Asaro, an 80-year-old mobster accused of helping to plan a multi-million dollar heist that was portrayed in the movie Goodfellas, was found not guilty of taking part in famous scheme.
The 1978 robbery at Kennedy Airport’s Lufthansa terminal led to a score of $6 million in cash and jewels, the biggest heist at the time.
The brazen robbery is believed to have been planned and executed by associates of New York’s crime families, and was one of the main storylines depicted in Martin Scorcese’s Goodfellas, which featured Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, and Ray Liotta.
In the movie, James Conway, depicted by DeNiro, begins a deadly rampage after the heist by killing accomplices and friends in an attempt to keep authorities from solving the robbery.
” Elizabeth Macedonio said during her closing,  the government’s case against Asaro doesn’t make sense and amounts to a lot of “yadda, yadda.”

There is no hard evidence, Macedonio said, tying Asaro to the 1978 robbery at Kennedy Airport that netted $6 million in cash and jewels that was depicted in the movie “Goodfellas.”.

Vincent Asaro was acquitted today and walked out of court, a free man, 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ed Verbell Illustrator, Courtroom Artist 1945

Ed Vebell, a skilled illustrator, said he developed the ability "to analyze a subject and grasp its essentials at a glance and draw it later from memory." Vebell worked as a courtroom illustrator for Stars & Stripes at the Nuremberg war trials.  Looking through field glasses from the spectator's gallery, Vebell could draw the defendants directly in fountain pen and used only "a moistened thumb for the middle tones."

More on Verbell, links below. 

Verbell Courtroom Art from the Nuremberg Trial

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dewey Leboeuf Trial: Courtroom Art Summary

Joel Sanders, Stephen DiCarmine and Steven Davis during the early part of trial, during Thomas Mullikin's testimony.

Joel Sander's attorney Andrew Frisch cross examination of Thomas Mullikin

Key witness Frank Canellas on direct examination by ADA Pierce Moser
Frank Canellas cross examination by Elkan Abramowitz

Defense table during closing statements

Austin Campriello closing statement with associate Anne Redcross
Defense attorney Elkan Abramowitz closing statement.

Andrew Frisch closing statement with defense team Jasmine Juteau,
Cesar de Castro and defendant Joel Sanders

ADA Piece Moser closing statement with staff and defense table

Defense table, latter part of trial

Jury with Judge Robert Stolz

Press during summations and jury instructions

Press during 18th day of deliberations

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Rabobank Trader Helped Rig Libor, Former Colleague Testifies by Pat Hurtado/ Bloomberg

Story Link:
An ex-Rabobank Groep trader testified that former-colleague Anthony Conti regularly agreed to manipulate the bank’s Libor submissions to help him make money.
Lee Stewart, then a senior derivatives trader at the Dutch bank’s London desk, told a Manhattan jury Thursday he sat across the trading table from Conti and Anthony Allen, who are on trial together. It’s the first U.S. trial over alleged rigging of the rate by manipulating the bank’s submissions.
Lee Stewart testifies on the stand during the Libor fixing trial in Manhattan Federal Court ,
questioned by DOJ trial attorney Brian Young. Judge Jed Rakoff presiding. 

Stewart would stand up or lean over their computer trading screens to ask Conti to manipulate the rate to his advantage, he testified. Conti, whose job was to make the bank’s daily Libor submissions, would “regularly” comply, Stewart said.
“I’d say, ‘Tony I’ve got a long one today, so highs would be nice,’” Stewart said. “I’d relate that to him verbally. I’d say, ‘I’m long or short,’ and it was quite clear.”

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Dewey Trial comes to a close: Homage to the Press UPDATE

After 19 days of deliberations and the longest in Manhattan Criminal Court, 
the press, still presses on. Some new reporters arrive, some take shifts and some are sitting through the long slog of the jury deliberations. Below is an updated picture of the press corps.
Left to Right, Matthew Goldstein (NY Times), Sara Randazo (WSJ), Stewart Bishop and Max Stendahl ( Law 360), Joseph Ax ( Reuters), Christine Simmons ( American Lawyer) and Chris Dolmetsch ( Bloomberg )

After over 4 months, the trial of Steven Davis, Stephen DiCarmine and Joel Sanders comes to a close. The jury selection began late April. On top of the ever present attorneys, their teams, defendants and their families, the press (particularly some that are very focused upon legal news) have been omnipresent. 
For those readers who have followed and read about this trial daily, below is an image of your source of information. The reporters from Law 360, American Lawyer, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times are pictured below. For months they listened to hours of evidence and testimony, distilled down the key points and wrote their stories in the un-air conditioned courthouse hallways of the summer.  
They will be there when the verdict is read, awaiting the jury's decision every day.
Left to right: Nell Gluckman (AM Law), Stewart Bishop (Law 360), Sara Randazzo( Wall Street Journal)
Matthew Goldstein ( The New York Times) note: click on the image to see it larger

Dewey defense table ( below).

 Left to Right: Joel Sanders, defense counsel Cesar de Castro, Elkan Abramowiz( foreground)Stephen DiCarmine, Jasmine Juteau,( foreground) , Austin Campriello, Steven Davis, Anne Redcross and Amanda Bassen , of Mr Sander's defense team. note: click on an image to see it larger

Monday, September 14, 2015

Courtroom art of the trial of Aaron Burr : Acquitted of misdemeanor September 1807

On June 24, 1807 a grand jury indicted Aaron Burr ( 3rd Vice President of the United States) for treason, for levying war against the United States, an act which allegedly took place on December 10, 1806. The grand jury also indicted Burr for high misdemeanor, for organizing a military expedition against Spain in Mexico, in violation of the Neutrality Act of 1794. A remarkable aspect of the trial was  President Jefferson's micromanagement of the prosecution from the White House. Jefferson himself never doubted that Burr was a traitor. Burr had served as Jefferson's Vice President from 1801-1805.
Courtroom illustration of the trial of Aaron Burr—some of the finest lawyers in the country argued the case—where the right of due process and protection for the rule of law were at stake.—© Bettmann / Corbis

 Most of the spectators were familiar with the stars of the drama, or “Melo-drama,” as one newspaper put it, and most had taken sides in the bitter public conflicts between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr.

The long legal ordeal ended  without a single conviction in 1807.  Burr was legally a free man, but most Americans, including the president who said so publicly, still considered him a traitor, and a traitor who had escaped the gallows. After four years of self-imposed exile in Europe, Burr returned to New York, where he remained a social outcast, a man without a country. Jefferson may have lost his case, but he succeeded in destroying Burr or at least in helping Burr destroy himself.

Burr died  in Staten Island on September 14, 1836. He is buried in Princeton New Jersey.

Information from the NEH magazine Humanities

Saturday, September 5, 2015

DEFLATEGATE: Jeffrey Kessler, attorney representing Tom Brady and NFL Players Association

Jeffrey Kessler is a partner at the New York office of Winston and Strawn, a Chicago-based law firm.  He represented the NFL Player Association and Tom Brady during the Deflategate hearings in Manhattan Federal Court, arguing the case in front of Judge Richard Berman. The judge ruled against the NFL, overturned the suspensions and Kessler secured a victory for the NFL Players Assn.
Here is the full transcript of his interview on NBC Sport about the win.

Article on Tom Brady hiring of Kessler.

Jeffrey Kessler of Winston and Strawn making argument during NFL Deflategate hearing in Manhattan Federal Court. Tom Brady is seated second from left.  Artwork by Elizabeth Williams for CNBC News
What Kessler's tried. 
McNeil, et al. v. NFL, et al—In one of the most impactful cases in NFL history, Kessler successfully argued against the league’s Plan B system, which gave clubs limited rights to retain 37 players each season, on behalf of Jets running back Freeman McNeil and a host of others. That decisionpaved the way for the league’s adopting a free agency system.
Zenith v. Matsushita—In a major non-sports case, Kessler was part of a team that successfully defended electronics companies Matsushita and JVC in the U.S. Supreme Court over claims of a worldwide conspiracy.
Brady v. NFL—In 2011, Kessler represented lead plaintiff Tom Brady and a class of other players in the case that ultimately led to the end of the 2011 NFL lockout and the establishment of a new collective bargaining agreement.
Sprewell v. NBA—When the Golden State Warriors’ Latrell Sprewell was suspended for a year and had the remainder of his contract voided by the NBA in 1997 after choking coach P.J. Carlesimo, Kessler successfully got the voiding of his contract overturned and his suspension reduced to the remainder of the season.
Kessler also aided the appeals of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Ravens running back Ray Rice, all of whose suspensions were ultimately reduced or overturned.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Judge nullifies Tom Brady's four-game suspension: Roger Goodell: NFL will appeal

Tom Brady will be under center for the Patriots' season opener next Thursday.
The ruling, handed down by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman on Thursday morning, nullified the four-game suspension levied against the Patriots quarterback back on May 11 when Ted Wells, an independent investigator hired by the NFL, asserted Brady's connection to deflated footballs used in the AFC Championship Game this past season. Goodell upheld that four-game suspension upon review.
The decision came after multiple attempts at settlement between Brady, his council, the NFL Players Association and the NFL. On Monday, Berman dismissed both sides after just a few minutes after realizing they were too far apart to reach a settlement.
Roger Goodell ( far left) and Tom Brady ( second from right) in Federal Court on August 12th. 

Goodell later announced the league would appeal the decision.
"We are grateful to Judge Berman for hearing this matter, but respectfully disagree with today's decision. We will appeal today's ruling in order to uphold the collectively bargained responsibility to protect the integrity of the game," Goodell wrote. "The commissioner's responsibility to secure the competitive fairness of our game is a paramount principle, and the league and our 32 clubs will continue to pursue a path to that end. While the legal phase of this process continues, we look forward to focusing on football and the opening of the regular season."
According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, the league will not seek a stay to keep Brady off the field under its appeal.

Judge Richard Berman

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Face of Evil: The Charles Manson Murders (2015) FEATURING BILL ROBLES INTERVIEW AND ARTWORK

Artwork by Bill Robles featured in the CNN Documentary and the book The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art.

Charles Manson lunging at Judge Older during trial 

Charles Manson studies by Bill Robles

Susan Atkins grabbing ADA Vincent Bugliosi's papers

Medical Examiner Thomas Noguchi testifying in court identifying stab wounds of Manson victim

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Arab Bank Reaches Settlement in Suit Accusing It of Financing Terrorism

New York Times: 

Arab Bank Reaches Settlement in Suit Accusing It of Financing Terrorism

story link:
Three days before a first-of-its-kind damages trial was supposed to start, a Middle Eastern bank has reached a settlement with hundreds of American plaintiffs, including victims of terrorist attacks around Israel, who had filed a lawsuit against the bank accusing it of supporting terrorism.
A spokesman for the bank, Arab Bank, and a spokeswoman for one of the law firms representing the plaintiffs confirmed on Friday that an agreement had been reached but declined to offer additional details, including the amount of the settlement.
Last year, a jury in Federal District Court in Brooklyn found Arab Bank liable for financing terrorism by processing transactions for members of the militant Islamic group Hamas.
First witness, deceased Steve Averbach testifies in a taped  testimony about the bombing of the bus by a suicide bomber, that left him paralyzed  His last line of testimony was" and then he detonated himself"

The second phase of the trial, assessing the damages Arab Bank would have to pay to some victims of attacks by Hamas, was scheduled to start on Monday.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

NFL DEFLATEGATE CONTINUED....'Deflategate' judge says Brady suspension in jeopardy

'Deflategate' judge says Brady suspension in jeopardy

AP - Sports
NEW YORK (AP) -- Tom Brady might have reason to practice more intensely after a federal judge made clear Wednesday that the NFL's four-game suspension of the New England Patriotsquarterback over ''Deflategate'' is in jeopardy.
Judge Richard Berman questioning the NFL attorney Daniel Nash

Berman continued to push for a settlement in the dispute - a potential result he called ''rational and logical.'' But throughout the hearing, he also cited several weaknesses in the way the NFL handled the controversy that could become the basis for handing a victory to Brady and his union.
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman, who's been asked by NFL Players Association to void the suspension, warned a league lawyer during oral arguments in the scandal over under-inflated footballs that there was precedent for judges to toss out penalties issued by arbitrators.

Jeffery Kessler attorney for the NFL Players Assn.

After the hearing, Berman met behind closed doors with both sides for more than an hour before the lawyers left court, saying the judge asked them not to discuss the negotiations publicly. If there is no deal, the Manhattan judge has said he hopes to rule by Sept. 4, six days before the Patriots host thePittsburgh Steelers in the NFL's season-opening game.
Neither Brady nor NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was in court Wednesday. Brady returned to Patriots practice after participating in negotiations along with Goodell and lawyers on both sides a day earlier.
The league announced in May that it was suspending Brady over allegations he conspired with two Patriots equipment employees to deflate footballs below what league rules allow to give him a competitive edge in New England's victory over the Indianapolis Colts in January's AFC championship game. Goodell, who by contract with the players' union can act as an arbitrator for labor disputes, upheld the suspension, touching off the legal battle.
During more than two hours of arguments by attorneys, the judge noted other arbitration decisions have been rejected when a key witness was not allowed to testify as he asked why NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash - who worked on the NFL investigation - could not be questioned by union lawyers during the suspension's appeal.
Arbitration proceedings, while more relaxed than court proceedings, are still required to follow due process rules to ensure fairness, Berman said. He also suggested that the league's finding that Brady was generally aware that game balls were being deflated was too vague, noting that any reference to the Jan. 18 game against the Colts was ''conspicuously absent'' in a report on an NFL investigation that the league used as a basis for the suspension.
Finally, Berman said he could not understand how the commissioner opted to keep a four-game suspension over a fine or a lesser penalty seen in other cases of equipment tampering. In one exchange, he questioned Goodell's defense of the Brady punishment on the grounds that it was comparable to penalties on players caught using performance enhancing drugs.
NFL attorney Daniel Nash answers Judge Berman's questions in court. 

''How is that equal to steroid use?'' he asked of the deflation allegations.
''They both go to the integrity of the game,'' responded NFL lawyer Daniel Nash.
''Well, everything goes to the integrity of the game,'' the judge shot back.
It was the second week in a row the judge seemed to lean harder on the NFL in open court, though he again cautioned that he had not yet made up his mind which side would win.
Another hearing was scheduled for Aug. 31. Both Brady and Goodell have been ordered to attend.