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Judge Rakoff’s People’s Court

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Judge Jed Rakoff’s courtroom at the federal district court in Manhattan will turn into a people’s court of sorts as he looks to get to the bottom of the paltry $33 million Bank of America settlement with the SEC, which was looking into whether the bank misled shareholders about bonuses paid to Merrill Lynch employees.

The settlement amount is peanuts next to the $5.8 billion in authorized Merrill bonuses and the billions the government injected into the bank to keep it afloat.

Reuters reported last week that lawyers expect the judge “to focus on whether the fine is in the public’s interest, particularly given that Bank of America has taken $45 billion of taxpayer funds from the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program.”

As fellow blogger, and also editor for the U.S. commentary service at Reuters, noted last week, the hearing is also an opportunity to answer some of the questions alleged in the complaint.

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