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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Baby boy's bris means day off for defense attorney Bennett Epstein, federal judge Kimba Wood agrees

There's joy in Federal Judge Kimba Wood's courtroom - but it has nothing to do with a verdict.

Defense lawyer Bennett Epstein stood in court on Monday and told Wood: "Judge, I have an announcement to make: Hoo hah!"

It was Epstein's slightly unorthodox way of announcing the birth of his grandson. But there was precedent.

Epstein had cautioned Wood earlier this month that his 33-year-old daughter, Eva, was due to give birth on Dec. 3 - right after the start of his loan-officer client's mortgage fraud trial.

Epstein, a modern Orthodox Jew, asked Wood for a day off from the trial - but only if his daughter had a boy, because he'd need to attend the "hoo hah" of the child's bris - a circumcision ceremony. But he noted that he wouldn't need the day off if it was a girl.

The judge granted his request for the day. But she shot back that she wanted to "balance the scales" in her Manhattan Federal Courtroom should it be a girl.

"If a daughter is born," Wood wrote, "there will be a public celebration in Court, with readings from poetry celebrating girls and women."

The boy, Epstein's third grandchild, entered the world at 2:13 a.m. Monday at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. He weighed 7 lbs. 10 oz. and measuring 20 1/2 inches. The baby's name won't be revealed until the bris.

"I guess the poetry readings I prepared are moot," Epstein said, adding that Wood is "a terrific judge, a wonderful person with a great sense of humor."

Epstein promised to bring photos of the baby to court.

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