Cosmo seeks access to documents to prepare defense

Nicholas Cosmo arrives at federal court in Central

Nicholas Cosmo arrives at federal court in Central Islip. (Oct. 8, 2009) (Credit: James Carbone)

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The casually elegant dark suit is gone, replaced by orange jail scrubs. The stakes of Nicholas Cosmo's battle are also lower, for now: Instead of trying to stay out of jail before he goes to trial on charges of defrauding thousands of people, he's trying to get access to documents to prepare his defense.

On Friday, defense attorney Stacey Richman of the Bronx asked U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley to order the Nassau County jail, where federal prisoners are held, to give Cosmo more access to the law library so he can read through pretrial discovery documents.

Federal prosecutor Grace Cucchissi agreed Cosmo needed more time with discovery documents so that he'll be ready to go to trial.

Hurley said he probably doesn't have any authority to order the jail to give more time to Cosmo, but the judge agreed he should get it and said he would ask the jail to cooperate.

Richman said Cosmo could get through the documents more quickly if he could review them on a jail computer available to inmates. A month after fighting strenuously to keep Cosmo off a computer, Cucchissi said that would be a good idea, noting the jail computer isn't connected to the Internet.

Cosmo, of Lake Grove, is accused of stealing $413 million in a Ponzi scheme orchestrated through his former firm, Agape World Inc. of Hauppauge. Earlier this week about 800 investors found out they'd get back about half of 1 percent of their investments from bankruptcy court.

Cosmo, jailed last month after his bail was revoked, is due back in court Jan. 15.

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