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Bourke Injured, Sentencing Delayed

Frederic Bourke’s sentencing has been rescheduled to November 10, 2009 at 2:30 pm. Judge Shira Scheindlin in the federal district court in Manhattan ordered the four week delay last week. Bourke underwent surgery almost two weeks ago to repair a “ruptured distal biceps tendon in his left arm.” The cause of the injury, which happened on September 22, isn’t specified in the court record.

Bourke, 63, was convicted in July of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Travel Act, and lying to FBI agents. The jury said he invested in Viktor Kozeny’s 1998 scheme to take over Azerbaijan’s state oil company despite knowing Kozeny planned to bribe Azeri leaders. Then he lied to federal agents during their investigation. Bourke faces up to ten years in prison. Kozeny, meanwhile, is a fugitive living in the Bahamas.

Without the surgery, according to his doctor, Bourke, who’s left-handed, risked permanent loss of mobility in his left arm, including turning a doorknob or looking at his wristwatch. After the surgery, his arm will be in a splint for six weeks at a ninety degree angle. He’ll then need physical therapy twice a week for about three months. His doctor is David S. Ruch, MD, a professor at Duke University and director of its hand, upper extremity and microvascular surgery fellowship program.

According to, “The people most likely to get a biceps tendon rupture are strength athletes, bodybuilders and heavy manual workers. Generally, males over the age of 35 years. . . . After the injury there is usually localized pain at the front of the elbow, with bruising and swelling. The biceps muscle may retract up the upper arm crating a prominent bump, known as the ‘Popeye’ sign. This is often visibly different to the other biceps when contracting the muscle.”

The government agreed to postpone Bourke’s sentencing until his splint is removed. Judge Scheindlin signed the rescheduling order last Wednesday, two days after receiving a request from Bourke’s lead trial lawyer, Harold Haddon, accompanied by a letter to the judge from Bourke’s doctor.

Bourke’s attorneys have asked for a new trial and are also appealing his conviction. He’s now free on bail.

Download a copy of Judge Scheindlin’s handwritten order here.

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