The epic story of Platinum Partners, the too-obvious-to-be-true tale of greed, fraud(s), bribes and designer handbags, has certainly had enough twists and turns to fill many more than the now four trials it has produced. The most shocking of these was the one that led to the upcoming fourth trial, when a federal judge said he didn’t care what a jury had to say about what had always seemed like an inevitable conclusion and cleared one once-convicted hedge fund fraudster and gave the other a new date with a new jury that the judge presumably believes will produce a new outcome.
Having pleaded guilty to his part in this whole baroque affair, that avenue was not open to the literal bag man in the case, Platinum’s Murray Huberfeld. But that doesn’t mean he can’t add a compelling new chapter at this late stage of the game.
Judge Alvin Hellerstein, 86, transferred Murray Huberfeld’s case to another court Tuesday without explanation. The move came only weeks before Hellerstein was to re-sentence Huberfeld…. Sources say that behind the scenes, defense attorneys argued Hellerstein should not be on the case because he is close with Andrew Kaplan, a former executive at Huberfeld’s hedge fund, Platinum Partners.
Two years ago, Hellerstein dismissed concerns about a conflict of interest, but they apparently resurfaced after the judge sent Huberfeld up the river for five time as long as prosecutors asked, which Huberfeld’s (new) lawyers say is because Hellerstein is pissed that the scam destroyed his friend’s son’s (and daughter’s friend’s and other daughter’s friend’s brother and late friend’s son and guy he’s known “since he was born”’s) life. And now, Huberfeld can hope to get a judge as favorable to his cause as the one his former colleagues lucked into.