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No Bail for N.J. Attorney Paul Bergrin in Federal Racketeering Case

Posted Jun 1, 2009 12:44 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Once a state and federal prosecutor in New Jersey, Paul Bergrin became a successful criminal defense lawyer there. He represented rap artists and gang members, among other clients.

But he was perceived by some as making the wrong choices as early as 1989, when he infuriated fellow prosecutors by testifying as a character witness for an investigator from the Essex County Prosecutor's Office who had been accused by the feds of extorting a cocaine dealer, reports the Star-Ledger.

Late last week, a federal judge sided with prosecutors in the racketeering case in which Bergrin has now been charged, agreeing that the 53-year-old attorney should not be granted bail because he poses too great a risk of flight and violence if released, reports an earlier Star-Ledger article.

Now accused of conspiring to murder a witness, among other charges, Bergrin and another New Jersey lawyer who is also accused in the case allegedly were caught on tape by an informant wearing a wire discussing the potential execution of a witness in a Monmouth County drug case, the newspaper reports.

However, supporters say Bergrin is a good man and a skilled attorney who took on cases others would not, such as the representation of an Iraq War veteran accused of misconduct while on duty in Abu Ghraib.

And, as far as Bergrin's own defense is concerned, "What I see here is a thin, one-witness case," says his lawyer, Gerald Shargel.

Additional coverage:

Associated Press: "NJ murder case puts conduct of lawyer with Jensen Beach home in spotlight "

ABAJournal.com: "Will N.J. Lawyer Charged in Claimed Witness-Murder Conspiracy Get Bail?"

ABAJournal.com: "Feds Say Indicted NJ Lawyer Had 8 Cases in Which Witnesses Died or Lied"

Updated at 7:50 p.m. to link to Associated Press article.

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