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Trials & Litigation

Did court reporter go rogue? He says he was fired for substance abuse, not for typing gibberish

Posted Apr 3, 2014 10:10 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A fired court reporter’s botched transcripts have reportedly led to appeals in several Manhattan court cases, including the fraud trial of a mortgage broker who was also convicted for trying to hire a hit man to eliminate a witness.

Claudia Trupp of the Center for Appellate Litigation told the New York Post her office is handling appeals for the mortgage broker, Aaron Hand, and nine others. “I never had a situation where a single court reporter was responsible for so much damage,” she said.

The New York Post identifies the court reporter as Daniel Kochanski. Unidentified sources alleged Kochanski had repeatedly typed “I hate my job” or gibberish, but Kochanski denied those allegations in a phone interview with the newspaper.

“I never typed gibberish. I always did my job 100 percent. I was let go because of substance abuse,” he told the Post. “I’m in recovery. July will be one year I’m clean.”

Judges are reportedly holding “reconstruction hearings” at which those involved in a case testify about what they remember. “This situation is terrible for everybody,” Trupp said. “It’s very difficult to come up with a sufficient record based on everybody’s recollection years after the event.”

Kochanski’s ex-wife, Heather Kochanski, told the Post that her former husband was dealing with the stress of being a court reporter. “The pressure of that job pushed him over the edge, leading him to lose everything,” she said.

Hat tip to @JoshMBlackman.

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