Friday, September 16, 2016


District Judge Richard Berman
The US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York has filed a 21-page document, captioned Government's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Defendant Reza Zarrab's Motion to Recuse. The memo makes several persuasive arguments regarding what it regards as defects in the defense motion to remove the trial judge, Richard Berman, from the case.

The memorandum convincingly argues that the motion fails, both as a matter of procedural, as well as substantive, law. The issues presented:

(1) The defense motion is untimely, and amounts to a waiver. It was not presented until more than four months after the Court, at the defendant's first appearance in the Southern District, disclosed information about a seminar that he had attended, two years prior, in Turkey. Defense counsel at that time did not move for recusal. Furthermore, the defense had participated in the filing of three pre-trial motions, with the filing of extensive memoranda of law. Prompt application for recusal, once information surfaces, which would give rise to such a motion, is required, under existing case law.

(2) the defendant's motion does not raise a reasonable question about the Court's impartiality. The Court's mere attendance at a conference, and public statements made at that time, about judicial independence and impartiality, do not demonstrate antagonism towards the defendant. Also, statements uttered by the Court, are overcome by the presumption that the judge will set his opinions aside, and rule, when on the bench, according to the law. There is no judicial bias; also, the Court never mentioned the defendant by name, in any public remarks he made at the seminar. Both the facts and the law are argued in support of opposition to the motion.

The memorandum contains extensive citations to what the US Attorney considers relevant case law on both points. Until the Court rules upon the recusal motion, we doubt that the pending motion to dismiss will be heard.

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