[Editor's Note: Sometimes we like to take a break from our usual extorting- insiders and flattering-anonymous-sources style of journalism to get out of DealBreaker HQ and pound the pavement. You know, do some real shoe-leather reporting. Like crashing Donald Trump’s party.. So this morning, instead of just sending DealBreaker cub reporter Bess Levin out for coffee and cigarettes, we sent her to the Spitzer v. Langone hearing down on Center Street. Her report follows.]
My watch set off the metal detector, but that was to be expected—fine TAG Heuer (“Tag Hoy-Yer”) craftsmanship often does. I was looking for Room 238, and decided to make the city of New York work for its money: “Excuse me, I’m look for Room 238” I said in my most grownup voice. “Take aina elevator to the second floor,” the man with the uncanny resemblance to Jim Cramer (post Mystic Tan) replied. “I’m sorry, which elevator?” I tried to clarify. “A-N-Y elevator” the figure who I can only assume was acting as some sort of a translator offered.
[Bess Levin’s report continues after the jump, the jump, the lovely lady jump]
Before I could turn on my heels, laughter erupted. “Which elevator? ANY elevator!” the two cried in unison, tears streaming down their faces. “Wait, wait, wait, which elevator is any elevator?” the translator asked Jim, doing what’d I’d estimate to be sub-par impression of me. “ANY elevator!” JC guffawed. This continued on for some period of time, as apparently the time it takes for “any” elevator to arrive in the courthouse is inversely proportional to how long it take one to plan a double-murder/suicide (which is not that long, as preparation of this kind really only takes like a hundredth of a second; so then you divide that number into 1 and it’s something like 10 minutes, give or take a few). “Hang on, I have a question. Which elevator? Which elevator? Which elevator?” Jim asked with repetition. “Any! elevator,” Chuckles responded.
Yes. Yes. Yes. It is SO hilarious that your charming—what is it, Queens?—accent prevented me from understanding you. Hilarious! Yes. I’m hemorrhaging inside it’s so funny. Stop. Please. I’m getting a stitch in my side. No—no—no, don’t you make that joke again, don’t you make it! No! Not the joke! Not while I have hot coffee in my mouth! If this comes out of my nose I’m going to send you the dry cleaning bill. Scamps.
I finally got to Room 238 and was told the hearing—scheduled to take place at 9:30—was pushed back to 11. I started to take out the Cosmo I’d conveniently packed in my bag the night before but the dirty looks it garnered were enough for me to put it away right quick. 1,293,981 Ways to Please a Man would have to wait until later. I considered taking a nice little cat nap but just then Judge Ramos emerged from his chambers to preside over the first case and everyone had to “rise” etc, etc, etc, so I figured “I’m already up, I might as well see what this guy has to offer.”
I wasn’t exactly clear what was being argued (by a Peter Gallagher looking fellow, but with some salt-and-pepper on top) but I gleaned that it had something to do with an accounting firm. What exactly is hard to say but that has little to do with the point; the point being—I absolutely love Judge Ramos! The man is an absolute card. A card. About twelve minutes in, he stopped Peter and said, “Listen, listen, you’re all excited and obviously enthused about this case but you’ve got to slow down okay, my friend?” It’s the ability to say stuff like that that makes me really want to be a middle school teacher. I started staring off into space and the following sequence played out in my mind: I’d sashay into my classroom (at Dalton? PS1? Wherever Conan’s sending Neve and whatever the boy’s name is) and offer things like “I don’t understand why I still hear talking.” Then I’d laugh a little to myself, ‘cause who says stuff like that? Then I’d say “ears open, mouths shut.” After that I’d call it a day and go home to write more material. Maybe I’d call the Judge for inspiration. It would be glorious.
My reverie was interrupted by peels of giggling over some legal terms that I couldn’t quite catch. Between the laughter, Ramos asked Sandy if he’d “attended the first year of law school?” Oh, snap.
A hush fell over the crowd when a husky bald fellow entered the room. The courtroom artist—who looked exactly like the temp who does all of Christina Applegate’s QED reports in Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead, but with longer hair—got very excited when this she realized it was Langone, in the flesh. It was like a paparazzo spying Brangelina outside their home, or Assica outside a plastic surgery office. If I’m not mistaken I’d say KL winked at her, as if to say, “Make sure you get my good side.”
At 11:00, 40 extra characters were trying to jam themselves into the already filled to capacity room. Extra benches were brought in, people were asked to “scooch,” and I sat smiling, happy with myself for unintentionally arriving early and securing a near front row seat to the show. Finally, things got down to business.
Attorney for Langone: It took the Israelis less time to set up in Lebanon.
Judge Ramos: With probably less bloodshed.
AL: There’s no evidence to justify this case going to trial. Sixty-one witnesses have been deposed. One-hundred and eighteen days of testimony have taken place. There have been 29,000 pages of deposition. There have been one million pages of documents.
JR: You’re a good lawyer but I was disappointed with your use of the documents. What can you tell me about the documents that doesn’t corroborate what the Attorney General is saying?
[Talk of “two sets of documents.” Langone defense says there’s only one; Attorney General says two. All very confusing; not sure what to make of the situation. Attorney General lawyer has a nice yarmulke, I notice.]
Attorney for the General Attorney: Mr. Langone is not like everyone else. He is the only CAP director. He is the only director who made a compensation presentation. He is the only one who worked with HR.
[AL raises hand]
JR: [waves hand at AL] Put it away, defense, just put it away.
AL: Let me explain why this is a diversion.
JR: This case needs a trial, how can it not have a trial?
AL: Give me ten minutes to tell you why.
JR: [heavy sighing] Fine.
JR: There was a $3 million ambiguity. It was a footnote but it was a $3 million dollar ambiguity. I wish I could get that footnote as my new salary.
AL: Langone never actually wrote any of the documents himself.
JR: [screaming and jumping up and down] Doesn’t anyone accept responsibility anymore?!
[JR continues to yell at AL for approximately two minutes. He then stops yelling and puts his hand on his head and says “I’m so fond of you, I really hate to do this to you. But you’re trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Not in my court.”]
[Fighting over some unnamed woman who was a member of the CAP committee and the board.]
JR: I’d like to not be more confused than I am; I was born confused, don’t make me more confused than that.
AL: Per Table Eight, Mr. Langone would like to make use of the February 3, 2000 speaking points.
[Makes an analogy comparing the speaking points to the fact that today is Wednesday, July 26, 2006. Always going for the jugular.]
JR: I can’t in good conscience grant this motion. Mr. Langone, you have to go to trial. I’m sorry.