Lawyers pack federal courtroom

NEWARK – The federal judge’s chamber was crammed with so many lawyers that if they had held cocktails you’d have thought it was a best and brightest social occasion.

By outward appearances, they were happy to have landed work, many of them, and broad grins of recogniztion brokeas they milled in preparation for the start of this multi-tiered corruption case.

When the clerk read off the cattle call of names, it was easier to start linking counsel with client.

Those charged – and there were 44 of them and counting – weren’t in the room at the moment here on the second floor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Building.

“Could I please have a copy ofa (complaint)?” a woman asked a New York reporter packed into the peanut gallery prior to the proceedings.

The reporter had a pile of complaints balanced on his knees and he helplessly looked up at the woman and asked, “Which one?”

“Guy Catrillo,” she answered.

The kid thumbed through the papers that jammed together looked like a tome of endless legalise and finally, after much rummaging, dredged up “United States of America v. Guy Catrillo.”

A planning aide with the city of Jersey City, Catrillo is charged with accepting$5,000 in exchange for the promised delivery of project approvals fora federal cooperating witness, who posed as a developer.

He had hoped to collect an additional $5,000 after the muncipal election.

“You’re a doll, I love you,” the woman told the reporter as she grabbed the indictment.

“Hey, I need that back,” theyoung reporter protested.

She promised she’d give it back to him. She jst needed to find out what the charges were concerning Guy Catrillo, one of 44.

Lawyers pack federal courtroom