Seated in a wheelchair, her hands wrapped in white bandages, former Broward Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin waited in a hallway of the Broward County Courthouse Tuesday for a hearing that never took place.
Wasserman-Rubin, 65, had expected to appear before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Spencer Eig at noon for a status report on her pending criminal trial for public corruption charges, which she has contested. But the hearing was postponed until February, she said, after waiting outside the courtroom for nearly 15 minutes.
The former commissioner said she will need the extra time to recuperate from recent hand surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome, and to undergo additional surgery for Deep Brain Stimulation, a procedure used to treat neurological symptoms such as tremors and stiffness for Parkinson’s patients.
“It will give me more relief,’’ Wasserman-Rubin said of the novel treatment. “It will increase my mobility.’’
She explained that the procedure involves cutting her skull and implanting a device called a neurostimulator inside the brain to deliver mild electrical currents to parts of the brain that control movement. After about a week, Wasserman-Rubin said, doctors will fine-tune the device, which she compared to a pacemaker.
A second device, which she described as a battery, will be inserted in her chest. Wasserman-Rubin said the procedure also may help reduce the amount of medication that she is required to take.
“This is not the type of life that I want to keep living,’’ she said.
Wasserman-Rubin had been scheduled to go to trial earlier this year, but it was postponed because of her health.
She stepped down from the Broward commission shortly before the Broward State Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges against her in July 2010.
Prosecutors charged that between March 2002 and April 2005, Wasserman-Rubin voted at least 15 times to support or fund grants written by her husband, Richard Rubin, for the Town of Southwest Ranches.
Investigators found that Rubin received three $15,000 bonuses — in addition to his regular compensation — for his work on successful grants that were supported by his wife. The town paid Rubin $1.1 million to write grant applications between 2001 and 2008, according to court records.
Prosecutors charged Wasserman-Rubin with seven counts of unlawful compensation and conspiracy to commit perjury, and they say she broke the law by voting on issues that resulted in a “special private gain” for herself or close family members.
Rubin, 67, accompanied his wife to the courthouse on Tuesday, but he had no comment on the charges. In June, Rubin completed a 10-month federal prison sentence for tax evasion after he pleaded guilty to underreporting his 2005 income by about $120,000.
Earlier this year, Wasserman-Rubin rejected a plea deal that would have allowed her to plead guilty or no contest to two felonies in exchange for two years of house arrest, eight years of probation and reimbursement of prosecution costs.
Had she accepted the deal, Wasserman-Rubin risked losing her state pension — an estimated $4,895 per month — her attorneys said. Her pension account has been frozen until the charges are resolved.
If convicted of all five charges against her, she could face from five to 55 years in state prison, prosecutors have said.