Exactly one week from his last visit to the federal courthouse in White Plains, Christopher St. Lawrence returned, this time without handcuffs, in a complete suit, and forcing a smile alongside his attorney, Patrick Burke. He and co-defendant Aaron Troodler were there to sort out the details of how the mountain of evidence collected by the FBI will be made available to all their attorneys.
As reported by Gabriel Rom in The Journal News, the prosecution has more than 205,000 documents to build their criminal case against the two defendants.
Troodler’s attorney, Susan Wolf, explained to Judge Cathy Seibel that she had about half a terabyte of data to hand over to the prosecution. Rom reports the total for all the material is something over 2 terabytes of information for the attorneys to examine.
A terabyte is so large a number that it borders on something imaginary. Technically, it’s 10 to the 12th power (1 followed by 12 zeros) bytes. One terabyte is a trillion bytes, so two would be 2 trillion. The words in this story you are reading adds up to 13,828 bytes. If you wanted to load all the court data discussed on Thursday on to CD-ROMs to take home with you, you would have to buy 2,800 CD-ROMs.
In pages, the total of the evidence is something else. According to the online legal research website, LexisNexis, you can store 64,782 average pages of Word documents in one gigabyte. A terabyte is 1,000 times larger than a gigabyte, and we have, actually, 2 terabytes, so Thursday’s documents would include 129,564,000 pages if they were all Word docs. Excel spreadsheets are more compact, so if the documents were all spreadsheets, you could cram 331,582,000 Excel pages into the 2TB. And emails are also pretty ridiculous. If the combined testimony were in the form of emails, the attorneys would be sifting through a little over 200 million of them.
The evidence, though, includes photos, videos, and the now famous audio recordings delivered to the federal authorities on several iPhones. These take up much more storage space, so Mr. Burke and Ms. Wolf will not be examining hundreds of millions of pages–probably just something like a few million. LexisNexis, by the way, estimates their average Word docs are 9 pages long, so if you multiply that times the 205,000 count estimated for the court, you have maybe 1.8 million pages. Much more manageable. Still, you’d better call the temp agency.
Court sets the calendar
St. Lawrence’s attorney asked Judge Seibel for 120 days to go through the information, but she gave the defense 90 days to complete the pre-trial fact-finding process. She also set the next trial date for Thursday, July 21 at 4:30 pm.
Two interesting questions remain floating after this first meeting closed. First, the indictment involves 22 counts, and there were 205,000 documents produced in evidence. Does that mean the federal prosecutors have produced an average of more than 9,000 pieces of evidence for each charge? Or, another way of asking the same question: did St. Lawrence and Troodler leave a paper trail the length of the Appalachian Trail?
And second, just exactly what is in the 500 gigabytes of information presented by Aaron Troodler’s attorney? Is that all evidence for the defense?