Brockman was charged in October 2020 with 39 counts, including tax evasion, wire fraud, money laundering and evidence tampering. He pleaded not guilty and resigned as chairman and CEO of Reynolds in November 2020.
“Perhaps the most telling evidence of Brockman’s current exaggeration of his cognitive disability is the inconsistency between Brockman’s performance on past cognitive assessments and Brockman’s business acumen and superior cognitive abilities in outside of clinical settings,” Hanks wrote. “This inconsistency, which became more striking over time, continued until it became clear that the government had gathered considerable evidence to support the prosecution of Brockman and that he resigned his responsibilities. of business.”
The judge based his opinion on testimony at the hearing from medical experts retained by prosecutors and defense attorneys, close contacts of Brockman and current and former Reynolds executives, as well as reports from experts, medical records, brain scan images and other court documents. .
Hanks wrote that he took into consideration Brockman’s age and health issues, including Parkinson’s disease and certain cognitive impairments.
But he also wrote that he found Brockman to be a smart person capable of staying involved in the complex affairs of the company.
Hanks cited examples of emails Brockman sent in 2019 and 2020 as CEO of Reynolds – on topics such as a dispute between company executives and the profit margins of a newsletter business . It showed that Brockman “had a solid understanding of the intricacies of her business and the industry in which she operated,” Hanks wrote.
The judge also pointed to antitrust depositions Brockman sat on in 2019, including one in January of that year, in which Hanks wrote that no mention was made of cognitive impairment.
In March 2019, “six weeks after giving hours of astute testimony in a billion-dollar antitrust case, Brockman, when asked during an evaluation by a Baylor neuropsychologist to read the word ‘two “out loud, replied that he didn’t think ‘two’ was a word,” Hanks wrote.
He noted that Brockman told his defense attorneys in the criminal case of his dementia diagnosis in July 2019, but one of his attorneys testified at the jurisdictional hearing that Brockman “didn’t authorized” the sharing of the diagnosis with his civil lawyers. This, Hanks said, “was particularly curious under the circumstances, as Brockman sat for another high-stakes deposition in September 2019 – six months after being diagnosed with mild to moderate dementia, marked in the low-medium range on a IQ test, and said ‘two’ wasn’t a word.”
Lawrence Feld, a New York-based defense attorney and assistant professor at New York Law School who is not involved in the Brockman case, said Automotive News that a finding that an accused is fit to stand trial may form part of an appeal “after a trial if found guilty and convicted”.
Defense attorneys may seek another competency assessment if Brockman’s medical condition changes, although the judge is not required to grant one, said Feld, also a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Criminal Division of the Southern District of New York.
Brockman’s attorneys in recent weeks have released additional details in court filings about Brockman’s health issues since the jurisdictional hearing, including a diagnosis of COVID-19 and two hospitalizations this year.