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Judge tosses case after lawyer says he will not wear a mask

A lawyer in a Brooklyn car crash case refused to wear a mask in court, saying it made him sweaty, short of breath and light-headed — so the judge tossed the case entirely just one day into jury selection.

“I want the record to reflect that I am speaking with great difficulty,” plaintiff lawyer Howard Greenwald, 68, gasped from behind his mandatory face mask in newly-reopened Brooklyn Supreme Court on Thursday.

“I want to the record to reflect that I am sweating profusely from the effort,” Greenwald told Justice Lawrence Knipel, according to a transcript obtained by The Post.

“Your honor, look at me. Look at me,” the lawyer begged.

“You look fine to me,” answered Knipel, who heads the borough’s civil courts. “I’m not a doctor, but –“

“I am dripping wet here, your honor,” Greenwald interrupted.

The lawyer asked to wear a face shield instead of a mask — but Knipel cited tough new rules requiring face masks be worn in all court buildings.

“There is no question that the number one safety measure seems to be wearing masks,” the judge countered. “Our Court protocols from Buffalo to Riverhead, right across the state — masks.”

The lawyer then asked that the jury be disbanded and the matter be postponed, since it involved only his client’s hairline-fractured leg — “It wasn’t a Joe Theismann fracture,” he told the judge, parroting something his opponent, the defense lawyer, had told prospective jurors the day before.

The judge did offer to move jury selection to a smaller courtroom, so that Greenwald wouldn’t have to exhaust himself by shouting to be heard. But he stood firm — wear a mask, or it’s over.

“Ok,” the judge said. “It hurts me to do it, but case dismissed.”

Federal courts can be even stricter — visitors in Manhattan must wear two face masks.


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