Paul Bergrin, who once earned his living sending criminals to jail, will likely be following in their path.
On Monday, after a seven-week trial, a federal court jury in Newark, N.J., convicted the former prosecutor on 23 counts, most related to running his criminal defense practice in the city as a racketeering and illegal drug enterprise and serving as "house counsel" to a drug kingpin.
The counts included witness murder and murder conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, maintaining drug-involved premises, travel in aid of drug-trafficking business, conspiracy to travel in aid of drug trafficking and bribery, travel in aid of prostitution business and evading currency transaction reporting requirements.
Among the most serious charges, Bergrin was found guilty of:
helping arrange the 2004 murder of FBI informant Kemo Deshawn McCray, a witness against Bergrin client William Baskerville in a drug case.
helping plan two witness murders that were not carried out: one on behalf of client Richard Pozo, facing federal drug charges in Texas, and the other on behalf of Vincent Esteves, facing drug charges in Monmouth County, N.J.
browbeating the 9-year-old daughter of a client, Noberto Velez, into falsely testifying for him in his trial on charges of stabbing his estranged wife.
helping client Jason Itzler run call-girl ring New York Confidential by creating a false paralegal position for Itzler at his firm in order to facilitate travel between New York and New Jersey.
operating illegitimate businesses, including Isabella's Restaurant on Sumner Avenue in Newark, where federal authorities seized dozens of kilograms of cocaine in 2009.
After the verdict was read, U.S. District Judge Dennis Cavanaugh dismissed the jurors, who deliberated for 14 hours over three days, noting, "It was not an easy case."