The buildup to the mistrial in New York state Sen. Malcolm Smith‘s bribery case wasn’t just courtroom drama. It became a whole megillah.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas had ordered prosecutors to turn over 93 hours of a cooperating government witness’s telephone conversations to defense attorneys because the recordings might help the defense. But complicating matters, 20% of those conversations were in Yiddish.
Though the New York region is home to more than 75% of the nation’s 159,000 Yiddish speakers, according to U.S. Census data, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has but a single interpreter on call.
- Yiddish tapes derail trial of NY State Sen. Malcolm Smith (timesofisrael.com)
- Judge Declares Mistrial In Senator Malcolm Smith Bribery Case Over Yiddish Translations (failedmessiah.typepad.com)
- Oy Gevalt! Untranslated Yiddish Recordings Stall State Senator’s Trial (nytimes.com)
- Disgraced Malcolm Smith’ Trial Could Be Delayed Over Yiddish Recordings (jpupdates.com)
- Mistrial Declared in Malcolm Smith Corruption Trial (nytimes.com)
- Mistrial Declared in Queens Senator’s Corruption Case (ny1.com)