A prominent Manhattan federal judge who presided over years of high-profile trials, including the trial of the terrorists who carried out the 1993 bombings of the World Trade Centers, has died aged 87 of Covid-19.
In his almost 40 years as a judge, Kevin Thomas Duffy, who died on Wednesday at a hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut, also presided over cases involving robberies, mob bosses and key social issues during a time of great change and turmoil in the U.S.
P. Kevin Castel, a longtime friend and colleague of Duffy, told the New York Times that the cause of his death was Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. He died in Greenwich where he lived.
A court sketch of Judge Kevin Thomas Duffy in 1996. Duffy presided over cases in Manhattan for over 40 years, and sadly passed away aged 87 after contracting the coronavirus
Duffy became well known for his colorful and even controversial manner in the courtroom, often showing independent and defiant characteristics in the way he conducted court proceedings.
When one of the six men who were convicted of the 1993 bombing in the World Trade Center underground parking lot maintained his innocence, Judge Duffy called him an ‘out and out liar’ according to the Times, saying ‘the others were low, you’re even lower.’ The bomb killed six people.
The most high-profile case Judge Duffy presided was that of the 1993 parking garage bombing of the World Trade Centers. Here, emergency service vehicles gather outside
The bombs detonated under the Twin Towers caused extensive damage and killed six people. Six men were convicted for the act of terror
When the man convicted of directing the bombing, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, said that the attack was retaliation for, and the only viable response to, American foreign policies towards Palestinian and Muslim people, Judge Duffy read passages from the Quran to the him and the courtroom.
The passages, he said, showed ‘your God is not Allah. Death was truly your God, your master, your one and only religion.’ Mr Yousef was sentenced to life in prison plus 240 years. His co-conspirators also received life sentences with additional years.
Rami Yousef, the ‘mastermind’ behind the bombings, was sentenced to life plus 240 years by Judge Duffy, who told him ‘your God is not Allah. Death was truly your God’
Members of the NYC emergency services sift through the rubble in the World Trade Center parking garage which was bombed in 1993
Judge Duffy presided over a number of other high profile cases. One also involved Mr Yousef, who in addition to the 1993 bombing plotted to detonate bombs on planes over the Pacific Ocean.
Another was one of the 1983 Brinks robbery and murder trials that convicted people involved in a 1981 attempted robbery of an armored truck in Rockland County, N.Y. and three murders related to the case.
Judge Duffy also presided over one of the 1983 Brinks Robbery cases. In 1981, members of the Black Liberation Army and the Weather Underground robbed an armored truck and killed three people in a shootout with the police
Judge Duffy was due to preside over the trial of mob boss Paul Castellano, but Castellano was assassinated outside of a steakhouse before the trial began
Another infamous trial Judge Duffy presided over was the trial of Paul Castellano, head of the Gambino crime family. Castellano was assassinated outside a steakhouse before the trail could begin.
Judge Duffy also oversaw a case in the 1970s over New York City’s air quality, and whether the city should enforce an air pollution reduction plan.
In 1993, her oversaw a trial over whether the sponsor of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, the Roman Catholic fraternal order, had a constitutional right prevent the gay and lesbian group from marching. Judge Duffy ruled that it did.
Reportedly, he had an informal style. Before the 1993 trial of the terrorists who bombed the World Trade Center, he told jurors that none of the trial participants would be using a word longer than ‘delicatessen’, saying legal matters should be expressed in a way everyone can understand.
Judge Duffy becomes one of the 5,139 people to have died from the coronavirus in the United States, with Wednesday 1 April seeing the highest number so far with 1,047 deaths.
Manhattan is currently under lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Here, Times Square can be seen almost totally empty as people remain inside and practice social distancing
As of the 1 April, 5,139 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S.