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Criminal Justice

Judge Nixes RICO Charges, But Defense Lawyer Still Faces 36 Counts, Including Murder

Posted Apr 23, 2010 3:31 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A New Jersey defense lawyer and former prosecutor accused of participating in a variety of criminal acts up to and including murder will not face three racketeering charges, a federal judge in Newark has decided.

Paul Bergrin still faces 36 other counts, reports the New Jersey Law Journal in an article reprinted in New York Lawyer (reg. req.). However, the crimes of which he and other defendants are accused are too loosely connected to establish the criminal enterprise or pattern of racketeering activity required under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, ruled U.S. District Judge William Martini.

"There is little on the face of the indictment demonstrating relatedness among the varied white collar fraud and street crimes offered by the government as RICO predicates," the judge says in his written opinion, explaining that the indictment "fails to set forth similar or common purposes, victims, manners of commission, or otherwise distinguishing characteristics" relating the alleged predicate crimes to each other.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Ex-Prosecutor Tied to More Crimes Targeting Witnesses, Indictment Says"

ABAJournal.com: "Defense Attorney Gets Out of Solitary After Nearly 6 Months"

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