David Brooks leaves federal court in Central Islip. He has...

David Brooks leaves federal court in Central Islip. He has been convicted in the looting of his Westbury body-armor company and awaits sentencing. (Feb. 24, 2009) Credit: James Carbone

David Brooks wants a do-over.

Attorneys for the former Westbury body-armor manufacturer argued Thursday in federal court in Central Islip that he was not sane enough to participate in his 2010 trial. The court case, which lasted eight months, ended with Brooks' conviction on all 17 counts against him on charges of operating a multimillion-dollar fraud at DHB Industries.

Gerald Shargel, one of Brooks' attorneys, said a psychiatrist and a psychologist hired by Brooks have spent hundreds of hours interviewing him at the federal prison in Brooklyn, where he is being held, and 14 others who know him and "came to the conclusion that Mr. Brooks was not competent during the trial."

If U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert agrees with Brooks' argument, she would conceivably toss the previous verdict and grant Brooks a new trial if he is eventually deemed competent.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Lunger noted that none of Brooks' lawyers, including Shargel and his other counsel, Judd Burstein, had ever claimed that Brooks was incompetent mentally, nor has Brooks' longtime personal psychiatrist.

In any event, prosecutor Lunger noted that Brooks has a long way to go before he could even get a competency hearing.

Lunger said Judge Seybert would have to agree that there were grounds for a competency hearing.

But Thursday Seybert offered her own observation.

"I have observed Mr. Brooks for over a year . . . There is nothing . . . that has suggested to me that he was [other] than competent."

Still, she said she would hold a hearing to determine whether there were grounds for an April competency hearing, after both defense and prosecution have submitted legal briefs.

No sentencing date has been set for Brooks, who is being held without bail at the federal detention center in Brooklyn. Seybert also has not yet decided how much of the $190 million Brooks allegedly made through the scheme should be forfeited to the government.

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