Kimba Wood slices court date to make way for bris
On Monday, federal Judge Kimba Wood told jury members in United States v. Lacey that they wouldn't be sitting on Dec. 6. But she didn't tell them the reason why: a bris.
The woman nominated for U.S. attorney general in 1993 -- she withdrew her name due to a nanny controversy -- found herself back in the news this month when she approved an unusual courtroom request.
New York defense lawyer Bennett Epstein, who has argued in Wood's Manhattan court many times before, sent a letter to her two weeks ago: An upcoming mortgage-fraud trial, he explained, would likely coincide with the birth of his daughter's first child, due Dec. 3. If it were a boy, Epstein (a Modern Orthodox Jew) requested a one-day recess so he could attend the traditional Jewish circumcision, held on the eighth day after the birth.
"Should the child be a girl, not much will happen in the way of public celebration," he wrote in the playful request -- which the judge filed into the public court docket. "However, should the baby be a boy, then hoo hah! ... My presence at the bris is not strictly commanded, although my absence will never be forgotten by those that matter."
Wood approved in a handwritten note: "But the court would like to balance the scales. If a daughter is born, there will be a public celebration in Court, with readings from poetry celebrating girls and women." The exchange was picked up and circulated on legal Web sites.
Although Epstein dutifully collected poetry just in case, it proved moot: The baby arrived at 2:13 a.m. Monday -- a 7-pound, 10-ounce boy. The proud grandfather walked into court and said, "Judge, I have an announcement. Hoo hah!"
"Everybody's doing great," Epstein told us during a courtroom break. Wood informed jury members that they won't be sitting next Monday; Epstein will head to Philly and promised to bring back treats from the bris for the court: "It's considered a mitzvah to partake."
The Reliable Source
| November 30, 2010; 1:05 AM ET
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