She made no mention and betrayed no knowledge of the helicopters hovering over the courthouse and dozens of reporters and photographs jostling for position with hundreds of curious onlookers waiting for Bonds‘ exit that day.
Legal observers expect the same demeanor on Monday.
“This not a judge who covets the publicity of the high-profile cases,” said defense attorney William Keane, who represented the former track coach Trevor Graham before Illston. “She will do as good a job as any judge I know to call things the way she see them, without any consideration for the publicity and attention the case is receiving.”
Keane’s client was convicted after a 2008 trial of making a false statement to BALCO investigators, and Illston sentenced Graham to one year of house arrest. Prosecutors had asked that Graham be sent to prison for 10 months.
Illston, a mother of two sons, cut her legal teeth at the plaintiffs firm founded by major Democratic fundraiser Joe Cotchett, first as a clerk, then as an entry-level attorney after graduation Stanford Law School in 1973. Three years later she was promoted to partner and was in charge of the firm when President Clinton appointed her to the bench in 1995.
“It was clear to me then as it is today that the woman is not only very bright, but she is pragmatic and very astute,” said Cotchett, who said one of the reasons he hired her in 1973 was because of the “Get out of Vietnam” sticker on her car.
“She’s the very epitome of prepared,” said Cotchett, who remains close to the judge. “She reads everything.”
Cotchett said the judge is an “avid” hiker and reads almost exclusively nonfiction books during her free time.
“There’s enough fiction in her courtroom,” he said.
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