A federal judge has barred from the courtroom both the girlfriend and brother of former body-armor manufacturer David Brooks, on the eve of final summations in his fraud trial, which is winding down after six months.
U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert, ruling from Central Islip, issued the order banning Jil Klinkert, who is also one of Brooks' paralegals, and Jeffrey Brooks after federal marshals on Tuesday discovered nine contraband pills that appeared to be tranquilizers concealed in pens at Brooks' defense table.
Klinkert and Jeffrey Brooks brought in the material - including legal briefs, water bottles, writing pads and pens - that were placed in front of Brooks' spot at the defense table before marshals led him into the courtroom, according to several sources familiar with Seybert's ruling.
Seybert did not explain the reason behind her order except to say that it was done after conferring with the U.S. Marshals Service.
According to the sources, Jeffrey Brooks called out from the spectator's seating to his brother as a federal marshal came up behind David Brooks as he was fumbling with pens. The marshal then observed two pills fall to the ground and Brooks' attempt to cover them up with one of his feet, the sources said.
Neither Brooks, Klinkert nor Jeffrey Brooks has been charged with a crime in connection with the pills incident.
On Friday, Brooks' lead defense attorney, Kenneth Ravenell, declined to comment on Tuesday's events.
In a letter to Seybert on Thursday, he asked her to reconsider barring Klinkert and Jeffrey Brooks, saying they provide "substantial and critically emotional support to Mr. Brooks."
Ravenell also said that Klinkert has had an important role in Brooks' legal defense.
Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for Eastern District federal prosecutors, said the office was investigating what kind of pills Brooks had and how he had gotten them.
Earlier in the trial, which began in January, Brooks was transferred from the Nassau County jail in East Meadow to a federal detention center in Queens after he was found to have tranquilizers concealed in his clothing and a ballpoint pen hidden in a body cavity.
Federal prosecutor Christopher Ott is scheduled Monday to begin summing up the government's case against Brooks and his co-defendant, Sandra Hatfield, the former chief operating officer of Brooks' company, DHB Industries, formerly based in Westbury. They are charged with making $190 million by manipulating the company's stock.