In a one-page memo Norman wrote that “due to the present political circumstances abounding in Brooklyn, and my need to devote my full energies to those matters, I am, forthwith, resigning from the firm.”
The resignation deprives Norman of a steady stream of income apart from his position as state assemblyman, while severing a tie that had created, at a minimum, appearance problems for both men.
At the same time, Norman’s departure enables Batra, a wealthy Manhattan personal injury lawyer, to further distance himself from Brooklyn’s Democratic machine while a grand jury hears evidence about judicial corruption.
Batra’s firm hired Norman in 1995, and from that point on Batra’s influence in Brooklyn politics steadily increased.
Beginning that year, Batra’s firm began receiving a large number of lucrative court appointments, such as receiverships. Later, he was named to the Brooklyn Democratic organization’s judicial screening committee, which played a key role in determining who was elected to the bench.
In 2000, Batra was embarrassed by a letter two attorneys wrote that implied he was helping to decide who got lucrative legal work in the county court system. Batra and Norman maintained that neither one had any influence over the distribution of such legal work.
Then, last month, Batra resigned from the screening panel amid a widening probe into whether judgeships are for sale in the borough. He has not been charged in the scandal.