Trials & Litigation

Client fumes at prosecutor's shot at his lawyer, calls it a 'below-the-belt dirty trick'


A lawyer who has been representing two defendants as they await resentencing in a high-profile investment fraud case is in an apparent “intimate, romantic relationship” with one of them, the prosecution said Friday in a letter to a federal judge in Manhattan protesting what it described as a conflict of interest.

On Monday, the lawyer, Vivian Shevitz, denied a conflict in a responding letter to U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan but said co-defendant Gary Tanaka wanted the court to appoint a new lawyer for him, Reuters reports.

“The personal ‘relationship’ between us is not germane to the situation at hand except to the extent it affects both clients,” she wrote. “Both are fully aware of the ‘conflict-producing’ circumstances of any septuagenarian (I am 69 years old) relationship that has developed.”

The main defendant, Alberto Vilar, told the Vail Daily in a phone interview that Shevitz is a terrific lawyer and he wants her to continue representing him.

“My lawyer could be involved with Attila the Hun and I would stay with her, she’s so damn good. This is just their latest below-the-belt dirty trick,” he said of federal prosecutors. “I’ve had eight lawyers and this woman is 10 times better than all of them put together. These people are playing dirty. They’re trying to rid me of the one lawyer who has successfully worked for me. … I think the prosecutors are trying to embarrass this woman.”

See also:

Forbes: “Vilar And Tanaka Win Appeal For New Sentence”

Reuters: “Money manager Vilar’s conviction upheld, new sentence ordered”

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