Paul Bergrin Found Guilty of all 23 Criminal Counts
The high profile attorney, a former Nutley resident, was found guilty on all charges brought against him.
The trial of Paul Bergrin, a Newark defense attorney who prosecutors say urged the 2004 murder of a witness against one of his clients, has culminated in Bergrin's conviction on 23 criminal counts, according to a report in the Star Ledger published on Monday.
Bergrin, a former prosecutor who rose to fame both for his flamboyant style and his defense of US soldiers in the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse case in 2004, was accused of narcotics and other charges, including witness tampering and murder.
Bergrin, once dubbed "the baddest lawyer in the history of New Jersey," faces life in prison.
Bergrin represented himself throughout his trial and repeatedly attempted to discredit these and other witnesses, including a woman who said she was coached to lie in court by Bergrin when she was a grade-school student in Belleville a decade ago.In his lengthy closing argument, Bergrin argued that the case was inconsistent and composed of fabrications and smears.
The flamboyant 57-year-old lawyer, a former Nutley resident, has been on a legal odyssey since 2011, when he first stood trial for facilitating the 2004 murder in Newark of a witness against one of his clients. That proceeding ended in a mistrial, setting up Bergrin’s most recent foray into court, which began nearly about two months ago.
In addition to arranging the murder of Kemo DeShawn McCray, the former federal prosecutor was also accused of trafficking cocaine, running a call-girl ring, witness tampering, attempted murder, racketeering and other charges.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Bergrin’s modus operandi was to eliminate witnesses against his clients. Some of those clients ended up testifying against Bergrin. Among them were Richard Pozo, a major New York-area drug kingpin, and Vincente Esteves, who ran a drug operation stretching from South America to Europe.
“Bergrin’s conduct was a stunning violation of his role as an officer of the court and a betrayal of his roots as a member of law enforcement,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said in a statement after the verdict. “Today, the jury returned the verdict compelled by the evidence and imposed the justice he deserved. We take no joy from his tragic fall, but I am extremely proud of the work done by those in my office and agents from the FBI, IRS and DEA that led to this just result.”