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No Witness, No Case


Q:  What's even better than a suppression motion?

A:  Offing the government's star witness.  That way, you don't have to worry about an appeal.

The feds have indicted a prominent New Jersey defense lawyer, Paul Bergrin, for murdering a government witness in a case he was defending, a fellow named Kemo McCray.  I have no personal knowledge of the case, and the judgment about Bergrin's guilt vel non will, obviously, have to await a jury's consideration.  But New York magazine has a fascinating article about it.  For example, these two paragraphs:

"‚ÄČ'No witness, no case'--that was Paul's motto," said one attorney [who knew him]. "There was this guy with a tattoo of the scales of justice on his back. Below the scales was the quote, 'No witness, no case--Paul Bergrin.' When your customers are all criminals, what's better advertising than a prison tattoo?"

Everyone had his Paul Bergrin ­story--how he started off with one client, then switched to another defendant in the same case, got the second guy to flip against the first, and kept the money from both. There were tales of how Bergrin planned to open a $30 million gambling casino in the Costa Rican cloud forest. And of course, there was the whorehouse deal. Bergrin had taken control of one of Manhattan's ritziest escort services and started bringing a steady stream of cops, lawyers, and even a prison official to the brothel's Worth Street headquarters, where the samples were free.

The trial wll be fascinatng to follow, if the government can persuade anyone to testify.


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