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State Objects to Grasso’s Request for New Judge The state Attorney General’s Office yesterday filed an objection to former New York Stock Exchange Chairman Richard A. Grasso’s request that Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Charles Edward Ramos recuse himself from presiding over the government’s excessive pay lawsuit against Mr. Grasso. “Grasso may have been permitted to treat the New York Stock Exchange as a fiefdom for his personal enrichment, picking the members of the Board and placing those over whom he had the most significant regulatory authority on the compensation committee, but he cannot be permitted to pick and choose the judge who will preside over his trial,” the government said in its affidavit. Mr. Grasso’s attorneys argued in a motion filed last week that Justice Ramos should recuse himself after he participated in ex parte settlement discussions in the case ( NYLJ, Sept. 13 ). They also argued that the judge made factual and legal comments on the case during settlement discussions that would make it difficult for him to preside over the case. Finally, Mr. Grasso said last week that he was unaware that the judge had applied twice for a position at the Stock Exchange and that in his second application Justice Ramos had cited to a case he decided in which he had addressed the issue of excessive compensation. The government called Mr. Grasso’s arguments baseless, deceitful and disingenuous. It said Mr. Grasso and his attorneys were in fact aware that Justice Ramos had applied twice for a board position at the Exchange. -Beth Bar Kirkland & Ellis Adds Bankruptcy Partner From Weil Gotshal Kirkland & Ellis has boosted its New York bankruptcy practice with a recruit from Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Paul Basta has worked on debtor representations including Global Crossing, Acterna Corporation, Rhythms NetConnections and Footstar. He also has represented Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Lehman Brothers and other financial institutions and funds in connection with in-court and out-of-court restructurings. Richard Cieri, the New York-based head of the firm’s restructuring group, called Mr. Basta an “up and coming star” who would add substantially to the firm’s capacity. Both Kirkland & Ellis and Weil, Gotshal & Manges are considered leading firms in the area, though earlier in the year Kirkland & Ellis lost its most famous bankruptcy lawyer, James Sprayregen, to investment bank Goldman Sachs. - Anthony Lin Judge Orders Ex-U.N. Ambassador’s Extradition A former diplomat of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzogovina can be extradited to his native land to face charges he misappropriated $2.4 million from his country’s mission to the United Nations, a federal judge has ruled. Southern District Judge Barbara Jones refused to grant a writ of habeas corpus for Muhamed Sacirbey, the federation’s former U.N. ambassador, letting stand a ruling last year by Magistrate Judge Frank Maas that Mr. Sacirbey could be returned to face criminal charges. Mr. Sacirbey had claimed the charges were spurious and based in part on revenge for his political ties, and a means of discrediting him for his testimony about the political implications of a U.N. investigation into the massacre of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. But Judge Jones rejected his claim that he was not charged with an extraditable offense and that his extradition would violate due process. Mr. Sacirbey, 49, who became a U.S. citizen in 1973, was arrested in March 2003. He was held in custody in the United States for 16 months before he was released in summer 2004 on bail, and ordered to wear an electronic ankle bracelet. Sacirbey v. Guccione, 05 Cv. 2949, will be published Monday. - Mark Hamblett Judge Dismisses Gotti Racketeering Charges For a second time, a judge yesterday tossed out new racketeering charges brought against John “Junior” Gotti, finding the evidence introduced at his trial insufficient to support a conviction. Southern District Judge Shira Scheindlin dealt a setback to the government’s case when she decided it had not proven that the source of money in several of Mr. Gotti’s properties stemmed from alleged loansharking or construction industry extortion. The government brought the new charges several months ago in a bid to boost its case against Mr. Gotti after two juries in the last year deadlocked on racketeering charges against him. With the new charges, the government tried to prove that Mr. Gotti continued to benefit from Gambino family money even after he said he quit the family when he pleaded guilty to charges in another racketeering case in 1999. The defense successfully convinced most jurors at a trial that ended in May that Gotti had quit the mob, triggering a five-year statute of limitations that would nullify the current charges. The new strategy by the government did have its benefits, though, because the judge decided the jury could consider the new evidence regarding Mr. Gotti’s finances even though it could not use the evidence to convict him on new racketeering charges. Judge Scheindlin had thrown out the new racketeering charges just before the retrial began but she changed her mind and reinstated them days later. Mr. Gotti still faces a racketeering charge related to other alleged crimes, including an allegation that he ordered two 1992 attacks on radio show host and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa in retaliation for Sliwa’s on-air rants against his father, John Gotti. The elder Gotti died in prison in 2002, 10 years after he was sentenced to life for a racketeering conviction. Closing arguments were slated to begin as early as today. - Associated Press

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