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Stadium News - Sort of

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Braman is grasping at straws.

A lawsuit that aims to derail Miami-Dade's $3 billion megaplan, slated for trial Tuesday, hit a legal roadblock Thursday when the judge overseeing the case recused himself after learning he was a distant relative to one of the plaintiff's attorneys.

Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Pedro Echarte Jr.'s mother is first cousins with (Braman's) attorney Bob Martinez's sister-in-law. The judge signed the recusal order from the high-profile case after Martinez, representing auto dealer Norman Braman, requested he no longer oversee it.

The Braman team's legal move came after a series of court decisions have gone against the millionaire businessman -- and in favor of the city, county and Florida Marlins, who would benefit from the slate of public-works projects Braman is trying to stop.

''I'd say Mr. Braman thought he was going to lose,'' said Marlins attorney Sanford Bohrer -- who represents The Miami Herald and other media in other matters.

Bohrer called Martinez's request ``the weakest motion to disqualify I've ever seen.''

(I added the (Braman's) part.)

What this means is there will be a delay in the proceedings.  As these things go, naturally a new judge was assigned to the case.

A new judge -- Jeri Beth Cohen -- has been assigned the case and will hold a status conference Friday afternoon. Cohen presided over last year's high-profile custody battle between a foster family and a father living in Cuba who both wanted to raise a little girl.

Should Judge Cohen rule against any of Braman's motions, I have no doubt he will request a DNA swap of her cheek to prove her family originated from Africa, the same way Braman's did.

In other words, the July 1 deadline for getting the construction management and financing agreement done is out the window.

It will take some time for the new judge to get up to speed on the case.  And in the meantime construction at the Orange Bowl site will continue.

I can guarantee this: I will never buy a car from a Braman dealership.  The fact that I can't afford one is besides the point.