by James Fanelli
The judge hearing the legal fight between federal investigators and the President Trump lawyer who inked a hush agreement with a porn star knows her way around Playboy Playmates and a steamy scandal.
Judge Kimba Wood, the brilliant legal mind who has served in Manhattan Federal Court since 1988 and was once nominated for the U.S. Attorney General post, briefly worked at a Playboy casino in 1966.
But her flirtation with Hugh Hefner’s bunny biz pales in comparison to an extramarital affair she allegedly had in the 1990s that became tabloid fodder.
Wood was dubbed the “Love Judge” in 1995 when the soon-to-be ex-wife of a multimillionaire Wall Street financier found his diary, which was filled with passionate prose about his trysts with the jurist.
Moneyman Frank Richardson gushed about the time he spent with Wood, describing her as “absolutely wonderful, very intelligent, a complete woman and able to give love wonderfully and freely.”
The illicit romance began in the spring of that year with dinners at ritzy restaurants and weekend getaways at Wood’s country home. At the time, Kimba was married to a Time magazine columnist but the two were about to divorce.
Richardson — who was worth an estimated $157 million at the time — wrote in superlatives about the judge, even describing one fireside rendezvous at the country home as “beautiful an eight hours as I have spent in my life.”
Judge Kimba Wood, the brilliant legal mind who has served in Manhattan Federal Court since 1988, is no stranger to scandal. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
He and Wood married in 1999.
Legal eagles have also praised Wood, who graduated from Harvard Law School and earned a master’s degree from the London School of Economics.
While a student in England, she worked for a week at a Playboy casino, training as a croupier. But she quit because she thought the gig was silly.
Even before the affair, Wood has made headlines as a tough judge presiding over cases involving high-profile defendants, including “Junk Bond King” Michael Milken.
In 1993 President Bill Clinton nominated her to become the first female Attorney General. But she withdrew from the nomination after the White House learned she had hired an undocumented immigrant as a babysitter.
Wood, who was Clinton’s second choice for AG post, didn’t break the law employing the nanny and in fact paid the woman’s taxes. But the White House asked her to withdraw because her situation was similar to Clinton’s first AG nomination, Zoe Baird.
Michael Cohen arrives at Manhattan Federal Court on April 16. (Alec Tabak)
Baird bowed out of consideration for the job after she drew criticism for employing two undocumented immigrants as housekeepers.
The highly-regarded Wood continued on the federal bench, and recently presided over the corruption trial of former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son.
Wood’s biggest legal decision may come Monday when she hears arguments from the lawyers of Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney, and federal prosecutors.
Cohen, who secretly negotiated a $130,000 payment to X-rated actress Stormy Daniels over an alleged 2007 affair with Trump, had his office raided by investigators last week. The feds have been investigating his business dealings for months.
Cohen has asked Wood to appoint a special master to parse through the documents recovered during the raid before investigators can take a peek. He said many of the documents are protected from disclosure because they fall under attorney-client privilege.