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Judge, 90: ‘I Was Not Asleep’

New Haven — In a rare self-defense from the bench, a nonagenarian federal judge said she was merely “bored,” not catching a few winks, while presiding over a New Haven trial involving the largest federal drug sweep in state history. Senior Judge Ellen Bree Burns made that statement before the fourth day of proceedings inside U.S. District Court on Church Street in the federal drug trial of Robert Santos, Philip Bryant, and Richard Anderson.  The three men were taken into custody in 2012, when federal agents ended an 18-month wiretap investigation by arresting over 100 people. They’re accused of conspiracy as part of a huge drug-dealing ring. Theirs is the third case to come out of the federal drug sweep, dubbed “Operation Bloodline.”

As many as two dozen family members and supporters have shown up each day to watch the court proceedings. A number of them have complained that Judge Burns, who is 90, appeared at times to be falling asleep. Continue Reading →

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