In June, it was determined the massive Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse fire in May had been set by homeless men looking for copper wire to sell, and Polish immigrant Leszek Kuczera was charged with arson. Though there had been some questions about whether Kuczera was involved, his case is being heard in court. The NY Times reports that deals have been discussed and, more unusually, the judge in the case took time to speak with the 59 year old defendant:

State Supreme Court in Brooklyn is no place to look for sympathy, but Mr. Kuczera has found it there. At a hearing yesterday, the judge overseeing his case conducted a long, private conference with the lawyers, then left the bench in full dress robes, walked across the courtroom and sat beside Mr. Kuczera at the defense table.

The judge, Abraham G. Gerges, a onetime city councilman from Greenpoint, spoke in a stage whisper and through a court translator. The judge began with talk of the neighborhood.

“They changed the name of the street,” Justice Gerges said. “And I have a lot of friends there, in the churches.”

The judge spoke of men he had represented as a lawyer, men he had helped. Mr. Kuczera nodded now and again and responded in Polish...

...The judge spoke of the Bowery Mission, a homeless shelter that offers job training and Bible studies. He spoke of treatment for alcoholism.

“I want him to understand we’re not promising anything,” Justice Gerges said to the translator.

“He understands,” the translator said.

The prosecution wants a guilty plea and Kuczera's lawyer refuses to change the plea. Both sides are due back in court at the end of the month.