Without Espada, More Ravitch Arguments

ALBANY—They're back in court to determine the constitutionality of Richard Ravitch's appointment as lieutenant governor.

Lawyers for State Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos and David Paterson faced off in Brooklyn's appellate division, again, to make arguments in front of a four-judge panel. Since their last appearance in Brooklyn, Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. has withdrawn his name from the lawsuit (it was filed at a time when he was allied with Skelos in a "coalition" government) via letter, but attorney John Ciampoli appeared today in court alongside David Lewis, an attorney representing Skelos. Lewis did most of the arguing, Ciampoli said, but he remained part of the team.

"One of the things that's in the letter is that the senator has no problem with my participation in the case on behalf of Senator Skelos," Ciampoli said. "I'm a staff attorney for the senate; that's who pays me. We get more representation for the same money."

In addition to arguing the merits of the case, Ciampoli said, the attorneys also touched on the question of venue. Paterson's lawyers had sought to move the trial to Albany after Skelos filed the suit in his native Nassau County.

Ciampoli said a decision is expected "as soon as possible, whatever that means."