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Woman says lawyer Paul Bergrin pushed her to lie, as a child, about her dad’s attack on her mom

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Woman says lawyer Paul Bergrin pushed her to lie, as a child, about her dad’s attack on her mom

Jan 29, 2013, 02:23 pm CDT

A New Jersey defense attorney accused of operating his law firm as a racketeering enterprise pushed a 9-year-old girl about her father's brutal attack on her mother, a witness for the prosecution told a federal jury in Newark on Monday.

Now 20 years old, Carolyn Velez told the jury that her false testimony helped her father, who was represented by attorney Paul Bergrin, win an acquittal in an attempted murder case, according to the Record and the Star-Ledger.

She said Bergrin, who is defending himself in the 26-count federal criminal case, had taken her to a toy store, a movie and on a carriage ride in New York City over a decade ago, as well as coaching and helping her father coerce her to lie and falsely portray her mother as violent and unstable. Bergrin also told Velez he needed her help to keep her father from going to jail, she testified.

As cross-examination began late yesterday, Bergrin got Velez to admit that a long-ago statement to authorities contained uncorrected inaccuracies and questioned how she could remember events of more than decade previously, the newspapers recount.

Now 57, Bergrin is a former state and federal prosecutor. He was known for his defense of rap stars and major drug dealers before being arrested in 2009 and jailed without bail.

A previous federal trial, on some of the same counts Bergrin is facing in this one, ended in a mistrial.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "When Is a Law Firm Allegedly Part of a RICO Criminal Enterprise? 3rd Circuit Explains"

ABAJournal.com: "Jury Selection Begins in Trial of Ex-Prosecutor Accused of Operating Law Firm as RICO Enterprise"

ABAJournal.com: "Is lawyer ‘a drug dealer, a pimp and a murderer’? Bergrin says he’s innocent, calls witnesses liars"

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