Judge Jed Rakoff Perks Up Slow Day at Gupta By Reprimanding Cardozo Law Student

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As we remarked this morning, the wheels of justice have been turning slowly in the insider-trading trial of Rajat Gupta, the former McKinsey & Co. chief executive accused of funneling corporate secrets to Galleon Group hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.

Indeed, so slowly that Judge Jed Rakoff has exhorted attorneys to liven up proceedings, and taken matters into his own hands when counsels failed to comply. (Most recently, Judge Rakoff traded quips with noted cornball and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.)

On Monday, His Honor went one step further, sending a U.S. marshall to put the heat to an overeager law student who’s been hanging around the courtroom in recent weeks. As The New York Times’ Peter Lattman reports today, Benjamin M. Cardozo Law School student Benula Bensam thought it would be interesting to witness a white collar trial. She’d studied the federal rules of evidence, and besides, she hadn’t managed to land a summer job. Even a boring day in court beat hanging around Woodside.

But attending court and writing letters to the judge are two different matters, apparently. Per The Times:

On Monday afternoon, as the jury listened to testimony from Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, a United States marshal approached Ms. Bensam in the spectator’s gallery and asked her to leave the courtroom. She said that several marshals then took her into a room and accused her to trying to improperly influence the judge.

“That was certainly not my intention,” said Ms. Bensam, who lives in Woodside, Queens. “They were very aggressive and totally misconstrued what I was trying to do.”

The judge, it turned out, was worried that the notes could create the perception that Ms. Bensam was trying to influence the case.


Judge Jed Rakoff Perks Up Slow Day at Gupta By Reprimanding Cardozo Law Student