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Even in the best of times, Central Islip, N.Y., is not the world’s most exciting place, especially since the psychiatric hospital closed 25 years ago. And these are not the best of times: There’s no Long Island Ducks baseball to take the mind off of the pandemic thanks to, you know, the pandemic, and the New York Institute of Technology campus will be even less lively than usual due to the same.

There is one thing Central Islip could look forward to: justice. For the first time in six months, the Carleton Avenue courtroom district was set to offer some real juice, with a nasty divorce over at state Supreme Court and a fun bench trial of a former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer accused of giving his new private-equity employers a head’s up about what the Feds had on file at the Al D’Amato federal courthouse.

Unfortunately, the divorce fireworks were put on hold because hedge fund billionaires don’t think the rules apply to them. And the SEC trial—which would have been the first federal criminal trial to grace Long Island since the outbreak—is off, now, too, because, uh, federal prosecutors just didn’t feel like it?

Prosecutors objected when Cohn’s attorneys wanted a trial as soon as possible, and U.S. District Court Judge Gary Brown agreed to hold a bench trial — without a jury — most likely in September.… Brown also had said last week that ways to overcome “the logistical issues raised by the government” would be discussed at a status conference scheduled for this Tuesday. The issues included the necessity to call a dozen witnesses from a number of states in the face of travel and quarantine restrictions.

But over the weekend, the government agreed to drop the felony charges in return for a misdemeanor plea.

In a brief statement along with his plea, Cohn said that he had “accessed confidential information” from the SEC files in advance of his job interview.

Cohn faces up to six months in prison under the terms of the plea deal.

Come on, Mike: That kind of thing is only allowed if you’re still on the government payroll.

Former SEC employee pleads guilty to theft of government property [Newsday]


By Chris Potter (Flickr: 3D Judges Gavel) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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