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May 2022


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Tag: Paul Bergrin

Round 2: Newark Feds Go for Retrial of Ex-Fed Prosecutor

By Allan Lengel

Round two is coming in the epic battle between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and ex-federal prosecutor Paul Bergrin, a high-profile  Newark defense attorney who was accused of orchestrating a 2004 murder of an FBI witness in a case in which he had a client.

The first round, for all practical purposes, went to Bergrin, after the jury deadlocked the day before Thanksgiving on the charges and the judge declared a mistrial.

Newark U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Gay sent a letter dated Dec. 1 to U.S. District Judge William J. Martini stating:

“The Government formally requests to try the balance of the Second Superseding Indictment (Counts 1 through 11 and 14 through 33) on January 4, 2012, though it will not oppose a request to sever the tax counts (Counts 27 through 33). Further, the Government will not oppose any reasonable continuance Mr. Bergrin may need to prepare for trial.”

The government has also theorized that Bergrin allegedly orchestrated the hit of a witness to cover up the fact that he was allegedly supplying cocaine to drug gangs.

Newark Jury Deadlocks in Murder Case Against Ex-Fed Prosecutor Paul Bergrin

Paul Bergrin/photo News12 New Jersey

Allan Lengel

The day before Thanksgiving, Paul Bergrin,  the ex-fed prosecutor who became a high-profile defense attorney representing rappers and gangbangers, had plenty to be thankful for.

That’s because a federal judge on Wednesday declared a mistrial after a jury deadlocked over whether Bergrin, 55, helped orchestrate a 2004 murder of an FBI witness in a drug case against his client, the Newark Star-Ledger reported.

The paper reported that the trial was ” based on testimony that lacked hard evidence.”

“The hung jury brings an end to a tense and often-theatrical trial that had featured steely accusations among the lawyers; screaming in the courtroom; angry, nervous witnesses; admonishments by the judge; and — on more than one occasion — the judge himself questioning whether the government had presented enough evidence to convict Bergrin,” the paper wrote.

The paper quoted U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman as saying in a statement: “While it is disappointing the jury was unable to reach a verdict, we are fully prepared for the next trial.”

To read more click here.


FBI Agent and Body Shop Owner to Testify Against Ex-Fed Prosecutor in Murder Case

Paul Bergrin/photo News12 New Jersey

By Allan Lengel

An FBI agent and a body shop owners are scheduled to testify Friday in the ongoing murder trial in federal court in Newark of ex-fed prosecutor Paul Bergrin, who once represented rap stars and drug kingpins, the Newark Star-Ledger reported.

Bergin, 55,  is accused of orchestrating the 2004 murder of a government informant Kemo Deshawn McCray.

The government contends that Bergrin told a drug gang member “No Kemo, no case” after one of their associates got busted on cocaine charges, the Star-Ledger reported. Bergrin is representing himself.

On Thursday, the paper reported, government witness Anthony Young testified. He is serving 30 years for the murder.

Bergrin said in opening statements that some witnesses were lying to get lesser sentences.

To read more click here.



Ex-Fed Prosecutor Assigned Rare Anonymous Jury in His Murder Trial

By Danny Fenster has reported preveiously on Paul Bergrin, the “swaggering ex-federal prosecutor … who authorites say became the go-to defense attorney for Newark street gangs.” Bergin “dodged one bullet” in charges of running an escort service of a client of his previously, receiving a sentence of time served.

But now the fed court trying him for allegations of orchestrating a 2004  murder of a witness against  a client of his, has taken the unusual step of selecting an anonymous jury, something only reserved in a mob or major drug trafficking case, reports Reuters. Trial begins Monday in Newark. The judge agreed withhold the names of the jurors.

Though US Attorney General Eric Holder decided not to seek the death penalty against Bergrin, as we’ve written, Bergrin does face life in prison if convicted.

The feds say they have their reasons for an anonymous jury.

Paul Bergrin/photo News12 New Jersey

“During pre-trial proceedings, prosecutors argued that safety and privacy concerns demanded that potential jurors remain anonymous,” reads the Reuters report. U.S. District Judge William Martini agreed to withhold jurors’ names and their employers at an August 30 hearing. Anonymity in such situations is usually granted for a prescribed period of time, the report says, although Judge Martini did not define the length of the juror’s anonymity.

“Part of it is the judge wanting to have the jurors as free of concern for their own personal safety and security as they possibly can be,” said Cornell Law professor Valerie Hans, a specialist in jury issues, told Reuters.

“There are circumstances where the jury names are not released ever, but in most cases fervor and high passion about the case fades rather quickly once the case is over,” said Dick Carelli, spokesman for the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, according to Reuters.

Bergrin is being charged with orchestrating the murder of a confidential witness in a federal drug case against a client of his. He is representing himself with the help of court-appointed attorney Lawrence Lustberg. Bergrin, who has already pleaded guilty, “has already been severely restricted in his physical movements around the courtroom, and has been threatened with an electric shock if he violates those restrictions,” according to Reuters.

The charges are part of a larger 33-count indictment, including allegations of racketeering and other crimes that make Bergrin “no different than a street gangster,” according to New Jersey US Attorney’s Office press release.

The move for anonymity has some of the defense worried.

“If the jurors know that their names are being kept anonymous, and that it is not the usual practice, then the jurors might sense danger, which works against the interest of the defendant,” said Alan Zegas, a past president of the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey, and currently of the Law Offices of Alan L. Zegas in Chatham, New Jersey, according to Reuters.

To read more click here.

Atty. Gen. Holder Decides Against Death Penalty in Case Against Ex-N.J. Fed Prosecutor

Paul Bergrin/photo News12 New Jersey

Paul Bergrin/photo News12 New Jersey

By Allan Lengel

The good news for ex-assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Bergrin is that he won’t be facing the death penalty.

The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey reports that Atty. Gen. Eric Holder has decided not to seek the death penalty against the prominent defense attorney in his pending case in which he’s accused of arranging the murder of a witness in a federal drug case.

The paper reported that Newark U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman wrote in a one-sentence letter to U.S. District Judge William J. Martini that the death penalty was not going to be in play.

“We’re pleased we can focus on the allegations and do not have to worry about the death penalty,” one of Bergrin’s attorneys, Lawrence Lustberg, said in a telephone interview with the paper.

“He still recognizes that while the death penalty is off the table, his life is on the line,” Lustberg said.

For Full Story

Ex-Fed Prosecutor Gets Break on Running Call-Girl Ring; Still Faces Fed Charges of Murder, Racketeering

Paul Bergrin/photo News12 New Jersey

Paul Bergrin/photo News12 New Jersey

By Allan Lengel

The swaggering ex-federal prosecutor Paul Bergrin who authorities say became the go-to defense attorney for Newark street gangs, dodged one bullet Tuesday but awaits still a bigger one that could put him down for good.

On Tuesday, he was sentenced to time served for running an escort service founded by one of his clients, the Associated Press reported. He pleaded guilty in May in New York State Supreme Court to a misdemeanor.

But he remains behind bars awaiting prosecution on federal charges of murder, conspiracy and racketeering relating to allegations that he used threats, bribes and even murder to discourage witnesses from testifying in trial, the AP reported.

Authorities have alleged that he passed on the name of an informant, who was shot to death in Newark in 2004.

Read Newark Star-Ledger Story on Plea in Call-Girl Ring

Read More About His Current Problems

How a Swaggering Ex-Federal Prosecutor Paul Bergrin, Son of a Cop, Allegedly Went Bad

Paul Bergrin/photo News12 New Jersey

Paul Bergrin/photo News12 New Jersey

This is a fascinating story that has all the markings of great movie. But federal authorities don’t see it as entertaining, nor amusing.

By Joe Ryan
Newark Star-Ledger
NEWARK — Last August, authorities say, Paul Bergrin traveled from Newark to Chicago hoping to meet a hit man.

Bergrin, who investigators describe as a go-to lawyer for Newark street gangs, was working on the case of an alleged Monmouth County cocaine kingpin. Authorities say the attorney wanted someone in Chicago to silence a potential witness.

That would-be triggerman, however, wound up working on a different case. He was an informant for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. And his case was against Bergrin.

After years of investigating, the DEA and the FBI arrested the 53-year-old lawyer May 20 on charges of running a wide-ranging criminal operation that included racketeering, mortgage fraud and employing nefarious and sometimes murderous tactics to shield his clients from prosecution.

For Full Story

Read Paul Bergrin Indictment

Ex-Assist. U.S. Atty Pleads Guilty in Prostitution Ring


Former federal prosecutor Paul Bergrin found that he could run a $1,000 an hour escort service and charge more than an attorney does. Now he’s paying for it.

Daniel Wise
New York Law Journal

More than two years after being accused of operating a Manhattan-based call-girl ring, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney was allowed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts under a deal that resulted in no jail time.

Paul Bergrin, 53, who was a solo practitioner when he was indicted in 2007, faced a maximum sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years if convicted on the top count against him, first-degree money laundering. In all, he was charged with six felonies and two misdemeanors.

Bergrin, a former prosecutor for Essex County and for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, was accused of taking over the operation of a $1,000-an-hour escort service called NY Confidential after its manager, Jason Itzler, was arrested in January, 2005.

Bergrin was also accused of falsely telling the New Jersey Parole Board that Itzler, who was his client, had worked for him as a paralegal in a case where Bergrin was defending a soldier accused of committing abuses at the Abu Graib prison in Iraq.

For Full Story