Judge Denies Motion to Hold Silverstein in Contempt

March 23, 2004

Although Judge Michael Mukasey indicated that his testimony wasn’t credible, he refused to hold Larry Silverstein, the head of Silverstein properties, the master leaseholder of the WTC, in contempt over remarks he made last week concerning the ongoing trial (See IJ Web site Mar.22).

He denied the motion, brought by the insurers, led by Swiss Re, who are contesting Silverstein’s claim the he should be paid the full value of both of the twin towers destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Silverstein explained that he thought the judge’s order limiting the comments the parties could make to the media had been rescinded. Judge Mukasey had in fact modified the order to allow certain limited statements to be made, which directly concerned trial proceedings. The overall stricture remains in effect.

According to a report from Reuters, Judge Mukasey found Silverstein’s explanations “contradictory and not credible,” but he indicated that the comments did not have a ruinous effect on the jury, and a finding of contempt could taint potential future jurors in the ongoing battle.

The judge ordered Silverstein to be barred from attending the trial, and he was not in the courtroom on Monday.

Topics Legislation

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