While the others struggle with their briefcases and their ill-humor, he is the only man who remembers to extend his hand to the First Lady of Maryland before leaving the courtroom.
And he is the only defendant who has the confidence to joke with a prosecutor - the man bent on sending him to prison - about his choice of a tailor.
It could be no other way for Irvin Kovens, the sixth defendant in the Marvin mandel political corruption trial and a man who has always stodd out, whether it be at the trial, at political fund-raisers or by the side of the governor.
His tall frame, wavy silver hair, flashy shirts, and Runyonesque charm all command attention.
The inclusion of Kovens in this second attempt to try the Mandel case has brought a new and pervasive flavor to the courtroom. Kovens is wealthier than any one of his codefendants. His $9-million status is apparent from the chauffeured white Cadillac waiting for him each day after the trial to the silver pill case he carries in his pocket.
His 25 years of service as Maryland's premier political fund raiser and power broker dwarfs the clout enjoyed by the others except, perhaps, Gov. Margin Mandel. His intimacy with Mandel is far deeper than that enjoyed by the others, stretching from a shared childhood in Baltimore's Jewish neighborhoods.
It is also clear now, one month into the retrial, that no picture of Mandel's life over the past few years could be complete without considering Kovens, who wax excused from the first trial for health reasons.
Mandel's controversial 1974 divorce was almost identical in the first trial, which was aborted in December because of publiciy surrounding two outside attempts to tamper with the verdict. This time around, with Kovens as a defendant, the prosecution has been able to introduce evilence concerning the governor's expensive divorce settlement which has become a centerpiece of the prosecution charge that Mandel was bribed with $350,000 worth of gifts from his five friends and confederandants.
Kovens' gift of $155,000 worth of Tax free bonds to the first Mrs. Mandel free bonds to the first Mrs. Mandel makes up a good part of the favors received by the governor. These bonds were given to former wife. These bonds were given to former wife Barbara Mandel the day she finally agreed to leave the governteed most of mandel's payment of the divorce settlement, estimated at $400,000
It is only now becoming clear through new testimony just how large a part Kovens played in Mandel's life.It was Kovens, according to testimony, who oversaw Mandel's grooming, for instance.
A few months after his friend became governor, Kovens arranged the first of some half-dozen personal shopping sprees for Mandel. Kovens did more than pick up the tab. He telephoned a clothing store manager, inquired whether the governor might leisurely select a few items of clothing in privacy, and then arranged a date.
Kovens eventually paid $2.333 for mandel's gubernatorial wardrobe as well as arranging a Florida shopping trip so that another co-defendant, Harry W. Rodgers III, could buy the governor some $1,500 worth of clothes.
After that evidence was presented in the trial, Kovens genially displayed to the press outside the courtroom the label in his own silk jacket. "Max Margolis," it read, just like the labels in some of the suits he provided for Mandel.
The prosecution charges a two-way flow of favors: gift to Mandel, Mand lobbying for certain pieces of legislation in return. The Marlboro Race Track, secretly owned by codefendants Rodgers, his brother William A. Rodgers, W. Dale Hess, Ernest N. Cory Jr. and, alledgly, by Kovens, reaped handsome profits because of Mandel's lobbying efforts in 1972, the prosecution charges.
Hess and the Rodgers brothers, who are real estate developers and insurance brokers, and Cory, an attorney, make an unlikely group to run a race track, but with Kovens in the case, the prosecution has added an acknowledged master of the trade.
"Kovens is the best track manager in th state," testified Charles J. (Chick) Lang, general manager of Pimilico Race Course.
His genius at running tracks was so admired that when Kovens sold the Charles Town (W. Va.) Track, the new owners slipped in a clause forbidding Kovens from buying up a new track for five years to keep him from competing with them. That clause, the prosecution alleges, was a reason why Kovens hid his majority interest in the Malboro track by using Irving T. (Tubby) Schwartz as his front on all documents.
On the witness stand, Schwartz steadfastly denied that he was Kovens' front man. A short round man who is Kovens' minion, Schwartz conveniently lost his memory when confronted with difficult questions. When presented with potentially incriminating documents, Schwartz discounted them as "errors or mistakes."
Most of the witnesses connected with Kovens' personal attorney Morton J. Hollander.
When Hollander was being examined in court on sensitive issues surrounding the race track purchase he threw in the fact that, as a friend of Kovens, he golfed with the millionaire regularly and usually beat him.
Up shot Koven's right arm and he spoke up as if he were an attorney: "I'll stipulate to that," he said, laughing, making light of his athletic abilities and the legal maneuverings by the attorneys during this trial.
Even when Kovens' net worth statement, the latest of four years of statements presented in the trial, he has a fortune of $2.2 million, not including the individual holdings of his wife, the former Jacqueline Hoffberger, Scion of the Baltimore brewery family.
The wealth of his other codefendants pale somewhat in comparison. At the last trial it was revealed that Hess was worth $3.3 million. William Rodgers was worth $3.6 million and Harry Rodgers worth $5.4 million in the early 1970s.
In 1969 and assets of Kovens as an individual and with his wife jointly added up to $5.3 million. Over the next three years the wealth was listed as $6.1 million, $9.2 million, and $8.8 million respectively.
By 1972 $6.5 million of Koven's $3.3 million was tied up in loans to persons and institutions, icluding one to the corporation that purchased the Charles Town Race Track from him.
Kovens himself received a $4 million loan from the Teamster's Union's pension fund when he bought the track in 1966, a sign of the ties he has with the union. His brother Calvin Kovens was convicted with Teamster president James R. Hoffa in the 1964 fraud case involving tampering with the union's pension fund.
Another loan listed in the 1972 statement is to Harry Rodgers for $200,000 to help pay for Marlboro Race Track. Defense attorneys claim it was a loan from Kovens to help a friend. Prosecutors allege that because he did not charge interest, in represented part of his investment in the track.
Besides masterminding the fund-raising of millions of dollars for Madel's political campaigns, Koven's has been at the governor's side during the most personal hours of need. Not only did his financial assistance pave the way for the divorce, he served as one of two witnesses at Mandel's second marriage.
While Kovens may have always been at Mandel's side when he was needed, his presence has popped up at times when it was not favorable. Few of the charges of politcal favoritism against Mandel fail to touch upon the Kovens ingredient. Even this year, the one issue the infuriated state politicians was the purchase of the Continental Can Company by the state for a prison site. With unusual haste, the purchase of the factory was arranged by the governor's office and it made the factory owner $1 million richer. The owner was Martin Sarubin, a cousin of Kovens.
Now Kovens is occupying the table directly behind the governor's table on the defense side of the Baltimore courtroom where the case of the United States vs. Marvin Mandel et al is being heard.
While the prosecution describes the case as a scheme to defraud the citizens of Maryland, alleging that Kovens and Mandel secretly plotted the purchase of the track and how to get favorable legislation passed to reap windfall profits, the defense puts a more favorable light on the secret purchase and the lavish gifts. It was, they maintain, northing more than friendship.