Monday, November 30, 2015


Judge Valerie Caproni, seated far left reading the verdict sheet to the jury foreperson. The responses to each count was "guilty". Silver looked at the jury and grimaced.

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,