More Details about the Plax Court Apperance

Tom Rock of Newsday had a interesting account of Plaxico Burress’ day in court:

Just a few notes from my morning visit to Part F of Manhattan Criminal Court today for the anti-Kentucky Derby (in other words, the least exciting two minutes in all of sports).
You can read the more straight-forward account here.

By 7 in the morning there were a few cameras and reporters gathered outside the building at 100 Centre Street on the off chance that Plaxico Burress would show up early. At one point around 7:30 or so a tall, skinny black guy in a white hooded sweatshirt came walking down the block yapping on his cellphone. Every camera shot up and started focusing, thinking this might be Burress. Obviously it wasn’t. Little does this guy know that somewhere in the library of footage from just about every TV station in New York is a clip of him strolling down the street and past the courthouse.

Click below to read more.

The doors to the courthouse opened at 8 a.m. and I went in. At that time there were a dozen or so cameras lined up along the entrance to the building, all behind metal fences to keep them back. I went inside as soon as the doors opened so I didn’t get to see the full assemblage of cameras, but Glauber spent a little more time outside the building waiting and said it was a pretty daunting spectacle to walk through.

There’s a metal detector at the front door and we all had to empty our pockets and put the items through an X-ray machine before going into the buidling. I couldn’t help but think that if there had been something like this at the Latin Quarter that night, none of us would have been there this morning. They took my digital voice recorder from me and gave me a ticket so I could get it back when I left the building. More on that later.

We sat outside Part F Room 219 for about an hour and the doors to the courtroom opened right around 9. I sat about five rows from the front, right behind Garafolo and DiTrani. There were probably more media people in the courtroom than there were people there to do court business. Glauber got yelled at for using his cellphone in the courtroom and had to take it outside. Yeesh, I can’t go anywhere with that guy.

At 9:14 Plaxico Burress walked into the courtroom accompanied by his wife Tiffany, his attorney Benjamin Brafman, and one of Brafman’s associates. They sat in the back of the courtroom, about four rows behind me. Burress wore a gray checkered suit with a sharp tie. He sat down next to his wife and Brafman made several trips between him and the front of the room. At one point he passed a form or a piece of paper along to ADA John Wolfstaetter, who was standing at his position on the right.

Judge Michael Yavinsky came into the courtroom but no one did anything. I figured that whole “Please rise for the Honorable …” business was just made-up Hollywood hooey, but after Yavinsky settled in a bailiff called out for us all to rise and announced that court was in session.

Yavinsky greeted the court and began by noting the various requests for video and still photography in the courtroom. He said he was aware of them but they were being denied. There was actually a sketch artist in the courtroom. I hope she’s a quick draw because in the time this thing went down I don’t know if I could have constructed a stick figure of the situation.

Burress was up first and called to the front as “Line 21.” The person who called him up is obviously not a Giants fan as he mispronounced his name. No, he got the Plaxico part right. It was the last name that was off. “Plaxico Burr-ESS” he called, rhyming it with “duress.” We all knew who he was talking about though.

Burress and his attorneys walked to the front of the courtroom and stood to the left. The lawyers announced themselves into the record and Brafman made a point of mentioning that Burress was in attendance. The judge said “Good morning” and the people said “Good morning” back. Those were the only two words Plaxico said the whole time.

Very quickly things were put in motion. The two sides asked for the adjournment and suggested June 15 as a date for the next hearing. That was OK’d by the judge. Yavinsky said bail would be continued and sent the parties on their merry way. I didn’t have a stopwatch on it, but it couldn’t have been more than two minutes in its entirety. If you told me it was under a minute I’d agree.

Burress walked out past us and seemed to want to at least say hello. He raised his eyebrows in a form of recognition that he knew us and saw us there. But he kept walking. We walked out behind him. His wife Tiffany had remained in her seat toward the back of the room while Plaxico was up in front of the judge, so she stepped out into the aisle. She tried to smile at us to say hello, but Brafman quickly put his hand on her arm and nudged her along in the parade.

Most of the courtroom left after that, following Burress and Brafman down the staircase toward the main entrance. I was following too, but out of the corner of my eye I saw a few non-sports reporters make their way down a separate staircase. I saw that Glauber was tailing Burress, so I figured I’d take a chance. It paid off. I made it to the ground floor and was even able to collect that digital recorder in the time it took the rest of the group to reach the front door. I was one of the few print reporters who was inside the courtroom and still managed to get an audio recording of what happened on the courthouse steps.

Burress didn’t stop outside the building and Brafman escorted him to a waiting black SUV. Then Brafman came back toward the building and made his statements about the adjournment, about how there was no deal in place, about Burress’ future with the Giants, and about the ongoing investigations by both sides of the case. He said he would only say it once, but a few TV crews missed it so he obliged them by saying it again. By my count he gave the crux of the statement four times. Then he jumped into a waiting car — not the same one Burress had already driven off in — and left.


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