Body-armor magnate David Brooks didn't just have his company illegally pay for an assortment of gold and bejeweled bling, prosecutors say.
When it came to expensive sculpture, Brooks' illegal tastes included a $60,000 stainless steel replica, created by the original sculptor, of the "Charging Bull" near Wall Street, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.
After two FBI agents in federal court in Central Islip wheeled in the replica, which had been seized from Brooks' former Old Westbury estate, sculptor Arturo Di Modica was asked by federal prosecutor Richard Lunger if it was the sculpture he had sold Brooks in 2006.
Saying he wanted to make sure it was "not a copy from China," Di Modica got off the witness stand, bent down and began feeling underneath the statute.
"It is my bull," said Di Modica, who splits his time between New York and Italy. Later the sculptor explained he was looking for a seal under the bull in which he cast his thumbprint, adding that the stainless steel was not as glistening when he originally sold it to Brooks.
Under cross-examination by Brooks' lead attorney, Kenneth Ravenell, Di Modica said that when he and Brooks had first discussed the purchase of a replica of the "Charging Bull," Brooks had asked him, "What is the right size for the office?"
The Wall Street sculpture weighs 2½ tons, is 10 feet tall and is made of bronze, while the one he delivered to Brooks in Old Westbury is stainless steel, 2 feet tall, and weighs 180 pounds, Di Modica said.
Brooks, charged with looting his former company, DHB Industries, and its stockholders of about $190 million in various fraudulent schemes, has argued that in addition to DHB's agreeing to pay for personal expenses, it was also paying expenses for his home office in the Old Westbury house.
Federal prosecutors have argued that any agreement on personal expenses was a sham that Brooks fabricated, and that the home office was a small portion of his home.
In another development, the first row of spectator seats behind the defense table has been cleared of all people except for federal marshals and court-security officers.
Correction officers at the Nassau County jail last week said Brooks was found have concealed tranquilizer tablets and a pen after he returned from court.