Until I discovered the information herein from the person that did the research, I thought that U.S. District Judge Dennis Cavanaugh had some sort of grudge against Paul Bergrin. At this point it seems as if the bias is not a conscious or calculated effort and is simply the natural consequence of his many personal and professional relationships to numerous parties with a horse in this race.
I strongly believe that there were no valid grounds for Judge William Martini to be recused in this case. The bottom line is that the impartial Judge Martini made a few valid rulings unfavorable to the government and they responded with a nasty temper tantrum like the spoiled brats they are. The Court of Appeals obliged, perhaps for no reason other than the bias of the deciding judges (former US Attorneys). On that note, Bergrin has little chance for justice in the Third Circuit. And then there's Justice Samuel Alito, no doubt ready to trip Bergrin if any part of this case makes it to the SCOTUS.
In any issue that actually mattered in this last trial, Judge Cavanaugh ruled for the government. Sure, he threw Bergrin a bone every now and then and tried to keep the overzealous AUSAs in check on occasion, but anyone that has read all of the transcripts is clear on the bias; it cannot be denied. Admittedly, I was happy to learn that it was related to personal and professional bonds and not simply a vindictive play on behalf of the government.
I consider Judge Cavanaugh an excellent judge in other matters that has no issue with impartiality and follows the rule of law. Yes, I have been watching the Backpage / Internet Archive case via EFF and why wouldn't I? I have been heavily threatened by parties connected to this case over a blog and a couple of books. Not that I haven't been threatened in past by others, but I'm not stupid and I do realize the powerful people involved in this prosecution and what they're capable of.
As a result of this trial, I no longer have any faith in the system. This should mean something to you if you recall that I am a former defendant acquitted by a jury of my peers on racketeering and conspiracy counts in Florida. One would expect me to have all of the faith and trust in the world. But I know what Shawn Brokos is. I know what John Gay is. I am all too aware of the facts and reality of this prosecution as I believe Judge Martini was before they managed to ditch him. As we now know, the move was fatal for Paul Bergrin.
This is Point Two of the Motion for Reconsideration:
II. GIVEN THE COURT’S PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH PARTIES ACCUSED OF MISCONDUCT IN THE CASE, A REASONABLE PERSON, WITH KNOWLEDGE OF ALL THE FACTS, WOULD CONCLUDE THAT THE COURT’S IMPARTIALITY MIGHT BE REASONABLY QUESTIONED.
Subsequent to Bergrin’s first trial before the Honorable William J. Martini, Judge, United States District Court, Newark, New Jersey, the government moved for reassignment of Judge Martini, claiming he was not fair and impartial and the Government feared it could not receive a fair retrial. In so moving, the Government cited 28 U.S.C. 455(a) and 28 U.S.C. 2106 and United States v. Bertoli, 40 F.3d 1384, 1411 (3rd Cir. 1994), arguing that a Judge should no longer preside over a case when a "reasonable person, with knowledge of all the facts, would conclude that the Judge's impartiality might be reasonably questioned.” United States v. Wecht, 484 F.3d 194,213 (3d. Cir. 2007).
Defendant is aware that the apparent bias must be derived from an extrajudicial source, meaning something above and beyond judicial rulings or opinions formed in presiding over the case. See Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994). In the case sub judice, the blatant appearance of partiality begs for the District Court to immediately recuse itself from this case, seek judicial reassignment and forego further rulings.
In pretrial filings, the defendant articulated the dire need for an evidential hearing relevant to governmental misconduct and improprieties which substantially affected defendant's chances of receiving a fair and impartial trial. Defendant submitted a sworn Certification from retired Federal Bureau of Investigation Agent and licensed Private Investigator, Louis Stevens which espoused a plethora of illegalities; acts of professional misconduct and improprieties infringing upon Bergrin’s Due Process rights; and acts committed by various Attorneys, government representatives and parties to the case (hereinafter Certification). The Certification, the additional supplemental submission (Bergrin Supplement dated July 15, 2013), as well as trial testimony clearly named specific attorneys in this case such as Richard Roberts, Vincent Nuzzi, John Azzarella and Christopher Adams. These attorneys represented seminal cooperating witnesses such as Rondre Kelly, Albert Castro, Abdul Williams, Eugene Braswell, Ramon Jimenez and Yolanda Jauregui; and the information provided to the Court specifically detailed how these attorneys, with the government's assistance and at times at the Government’s behest, breached their obligations pursuant to the Rules of Professional Responsibility and acted outside the bounds of the law.
What has now been ascertained is the inherent intrapersonal and professional relationship's this Honorable Court had with each one of these legal representatives. As set forth herein, the facts show that the public would perceive an overwhelming appearance of impropriety and partiality by this Court in presiding over this matter.
Shortly after being assigned this matter, the defense provided this Court with the Stephens’ certification. The certification raised serious questions about the conduct of Richard Roberts, the attorney who represented several cooperating witnesses, solicited former Bergrin clients and sought movie rights from at least two cooperating witnesses. After trial, the defense learned that this His Honor and His Honor’s close family members have close personal ties with Roberts.
Specifically, attorney Roberts attended Seton Hall Law School with His Honor from 1970 to 1972. Both His Honor and Roberts were employed by the State of New Jersey in the County of Essex from approximately 1973 to 1977. Although they worked in different offices, they forged a genuine friendship and bond based upon their innumerable interactions. Roberts worked for the Essex County Prosecutor's Office for almost ten years and His Honor for the Essex County Public Defender's Office.
During Roberts' employ as an Assistant Prosecutor, he was promoted to supervisory positions and established a life-long relationship with his former boss the Essex County Prosecutor, Joseph Lordi. Lordi is His Honor’s father-in-law. Roberts has publicly and repeatedly referred to Lordi as having been "like a second father to him." See Waldron, Mary. The Life and Career of Richie Roberts Practicing Criminal Defense Attorney and Inspiration for the Movie “American Gangster.”
As Roberts’ second father, Lordi and His Honor shared a similar bond and relationship as that between Lordi and Roberts. Although unknown to the Defendant until after trial, these relationships apparently were public knowledge as is the fact that Roberts is also a close friend with His Honor's wife, Linda Lordi Cavanaugh. The relationship between Roberts, His Honor and Mrs. Lordi Cavanaugh date back approximately 30 years.
His Honor also was a partner in the Law Firm of Whipple, Ross and Hirsch from 1987 to 1992, the firm that presently employs attorney John Azzarella; the representative for Ramon Jimenez and the attorney against whom Bergrin and Jimenez asserted ethical violations. His Honor remains extremely close personally and professionally with multiple partners in that firm.
Attorney Vincent Nuzzi, the attorney for cooperating witness Eugene Braswell, as well as the former attorney for Hakeem Curry and Jarvis Webb, as well as multiple members of the Curry Organization, has been one of His Honor's closest friends and supporters for the past 30 years. Not only did His Honor work at the Office of the Essex County Public Defender with Nuzzi but His Honor considers Nuzzi one of his closest friends.
Christopher Adams is a partner in the firm of Joseph Hayden, Jr., a firm with which His Honor shares a close intrapersonal relationship for more than 30 years with its senior partners, Justin Walder and Joseph Hayden, Jr. It must also be noted that His Honor served his first Judicial Clerkship with Judge Francis Hayden, in New Jersey Superior Court, Essex County, New Jersey.
It is a combination of all these factors, which, most respectfully, gives the public the perception of an appearance of impropriety and partiality by this Court and to which Defendant now seeks recusal of this Honorable Court. It is apparent and inherent that this Honorable Court could not have sat as an independent and objective jurist in light of his close, professional and personal attachments and relationships with these attorneys who represented the core of the cooperating witnesses against Bergrin. This is especially so in light of Bergrin's accusations of misconduct against these attorneys and the prejudicial impact they had in the presentation of evidence in the case.
These relationships between His Honor and the involved parties, discovered subsequent to Bergrin's trial, not only affected the dispositional rulings against Bergrin but required full and complete disclosure and a hearing to determine the degree of prejudice and the impact these outside influences may have had on the judicial proceedings.
In sum, this Honorable Court should no longer preside over this case because a reasonable person with knowledge of all these facts would have to conclude that this Court could have been perceived by the public as partially disposed against Bergrin and in personal favor with those adverse to Bergrin’s interests in this proceeding.
I admit to having little confidence in Judge Cavanaugh doing the right thing, but I hope he proves me wrong.