LYNN – The judge at the center of the Tom Brady “Deflategate” drama once sat across the table from local attorney Samuel Vitali negotiating a cable television contract.?Richard Berman has been in Lynn, Massachusetts,” Vitali said Tuesday as he described the shrewd negotiator-turned-federal-judge who is playing a vital role in the year?s biggest sports story.Berman is expected by Friday to either uphold the four-game suspension for the New England Patriots quarterback or vacate it. Vitali said the finesse Berman has shown in handling the red-hot football deflation case and Brady?s looming fate surfaced in 1978 when Berman represented Time Warner Cable in negotiations with the city of Lynn.?The guys negotiating the deal were me and Berman,” he said.Vitali was legal counsel to locally based North Shore Cable, and he said Berman quickly grasped that the late Antonio Marino, Lynn?s mayor at the time, was “comfortable with someone he knew.” Berman and Vitali cobbled together a deal that provided support from North Shore Cable while bringing Time Warner?s experience and resources into the city.Vitali said the pair spoke three or four times and met at least twice in person during the cable talks.?Berman struck me as a young, bright guy,” Vitali said.Flash forward to 2015 and Vitali said Berman, now a senior U.S. District Court judge, demonstrated skill and experience by urging the National Football League and Brady?s attorneys to try and reach a deal even while warning the clock would run out on how much time Berman would give both sides to bargain before he issued a ruling.?He is perfect for a judge?s temperament: He made each side feel they could lose,” Vitali said.Vitali recalled how he shared academic and political common ground with the future judge. Berman graduated Cornell University and Fordham University, Vitali Boston College and Georgetown University. Berman supported former Republican senator from New York Jacob Javitts, while Vitali was a Jimmy Carter supporter.?We shared political stories, and we had the commonality of a Jesuit education,” Vitali said.Where does he think Berman will come down on Deflategate??For Brady,” Vitali said.