NXIVM sex cult case: Nicki Clyne retains criminal 'super' lawyer; but who's paying for it? – Artvoice

By Frank Parlato
Nicki Clyne has got a criminal lawyer. She made soon need one.
On May 4, Assistant US Attorney Moira Penza told the Federal Court in Brooklyn that, in addition to indicted co defendants, Keith Raniere and Allison Mack,  the US Attorney’s office would likely be bringing charges against others in the NXIVM sex cult case.
Penza told the court that new defendants may be charged within the next few weeks.
Although Penza did not name the targets, it is believed that Clyne, the former actress, who became a sex slave follower of Mack and Raniere, may be one of these.
Clyne has now retained New York criminal lawyer, Edward Sapone, a founding partner of Sapone & Petrillo, LLP of New York City.

According to an online profile  Sapone “focuses his practice on handling state and federal criminal defense cases that involve the following matters: white collar, financial, fraud, violent and narcotics crimes.”

Since Clyne appears to have little or no money for a retainer for a top shelf lawyer – she works in a vegan restaurant, – it seems likely that cult leader, Clare Bronfman is footing the bill for her attorney.

According to his online profile  “Mr. Sapone has been named in The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100, and he holds an Avvo ‘Superb’ rating. He has received a Citation of Honor from the president of the Borough of Queens, the Hon. Helen M. Marshall, and from New York state assemblyman Francisco P. Moya, as well as a Proclamation of Honor from New York state Sen. Jose Peralta.

“A faculty member at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Mr. Sapone has taught at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. In demand as a legal analyst, he has appeared on a number of media outlets, including Court TV, MSNBC, CNN and Univision. Mr. Sapone is the president of The New York Criminal Bar Association, and he is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the Federal Bar Council and the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.”

He has been selected to “Super Lawyers” from 2014-2018.

Bronfman – the enormously wealthy Seagram’s heiress who, along with her sister, Sara Bronfman- Igtet – have funded the criminal cult for 18 years – is likely paying at least 12 lawyers to defend members of the cult.
Bronfman is believed to be paying Keith Raniere’ five lawyers, [Marc A. Agnifilo, Paul DerOhannesian, II, Danielle Renee Smith, Jacob Kaplan, Teny Rose Geragos];
Allison Macks’ three lawyers [Sean Stephen Buckley, Steven Gary Kobre, William F. McGovern];
The team of medical malpractice attorneys representing human fright experimenter Dr. Brandon Porter and human female brander, Dr. Danielle Roberts. (Abrams Fensterman Michael S. Kelton lead attorney);
 India Oxenberg’s civil attorney, Carla DiMare, [retained to sue India’s mother Catherine Oxenberg and others]
Bronfman’s own lawyers [Dennis Burke, William Savino and others].

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Mamaroneck cops' lawyer blasts father's attorney in Gabriella Maria Boyd case – The Journal News | LoHud.com

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Mamaroneck Police attorney John D'Alessandro speaks out on process and procedure of the officers.
John Meore, jmeore@lohud.com

Mamaroneck police have come under scrutiny in the aftermath of Gabriella Maria Boyd’s death, primarily because a lawyer for the girl’s father accused them of failing to enforce a court order that gave the father custody the day before she died in her mother’s home.

Now a lawyer for the police union is turning the tables, assailing the father’s lawyer for not doing enough to protect Gabriella.

“He may not be a criminal lawyer but he knows damn well the Constitution doesn’t give cops the right to break down the door and take a child,” John D’Alessandro said of Martin Rosen, the lawyer for Stephen Boyd. “He’s recklessly pointing fingers but can he look in the mirror and say he did his job to the best of his ability?”

The focus has not been on the violence that occurred when police arrived too late to save Gabriella on April 28. Rather questions have swirled about whether enough was done the previous day, when two officers went to the Chestnut Avenue home to serve the court order but were turned away by Cynthia Arce, Gabriella’s mother.

Before becoming an attorney and joining the Quinn Law Firm, D’Alessandro was a Yonkers detective for years. When he retired in 2005, he was commanding officer of the department’s child abuse investigation team. He had previously spent time heading the county’s child abuse team and following his retirement he was the coordinator of the county’s child fatality review team.

He said Rosen should have done several things that might have convinced police the girl was in danger:

  • Rosen should have gotten an order of protection.
  • He should have included emergency language directing police to act.
  •  He should have provided an official copy of the order — with the affidavit detailing the underlying concerns — to police, D’Alessandro said.

D’Alessandro said there was no sense of urgency on the part of police because there was nothing that led them to believe she was in danger.

“I can’t think of any cops who would have knocked down the door in this circumstance,” he said. “There just wasn’t enough there.”

Asked in an email Friday about D’Alessandro’s criticism, Rosen said he would respond after he returns from a vacation in Europe on Tuesday.

He did insist that it was “obvious that the judge felt (the) child was in danger. That is why the Order to Show Cause was signed in the form that was submitted.”

TIMELINE: Gabriella Boyd’s death

GABRIELLA: Was enough done to save her?

FATHER’S LAWYER: Police “refused” to enforce court order

The facts so far

Just after 1:30 p.m. on April 28, police responded to 507 Chestnut Ave. on a 911 call from the owner, Gabriella’s grandmother. They found the 2-year-old unresponsive and tried CPR. Arce allegedly attacked two officers with a pair of knives. An attempt to subdue her with a stun gun failed and another officer shot and injured her.

Gabriella later died at the hospital. The cause of death is still undetermined as the Medical Examiner awaits test results.

Arce was charged with attempted aggravated murder of a police officer and remains held without bail.

Two days after Gabriella’s death, Rosen held a press conference criticizing the police and District Attorney’s Office for “refusing” to enforce the order.

Village and police officials were mum in response, leaving police frustrated, D’Alessandro said. The Village of Mamaroneck Police Benevolent Association put out a statement two days later saying the officers had no indication that Gabriella was in danger and that they were told they had no authority to enter the home to take the girl.

The document police presented to Arce was a Family Court order granting temporary physical custody of Gabriella to the father, Stephen Boyd, and barring Arce from having contact with Boyd and the toddler.

Rosen had crafted the language as part of an Order to Show Cause he submitted to Judge Hal Greenwald on April 26, the day that Stephen Boyd received a disturbing phone call from Arce that led him to believe she was going to harm herself. 

Greenwald signed the order on April 27 and Rosen sent a copy of it to Boyd, who went to police headquarters to get them to serve the court order on Arce so he could get his daughter.

Everyone seems to have assumed that Arce would comply. Nobody planned for what would happen when she didn’t.

Stronger court order language?

Because Rosen wrote out the order that the judge signed, he could have written in language that police were directed to take the child, D’Alessandro suggested.

Then if the judge crossed it out, that would have said something about how serious he thought the situation was. If the judge kept that language in, that would have been the guidance police needed.

“That would have done the trick,” D’Alessandro said. “If the judged signed an order with that, it would have given cops the clear authority to take action and get the girl.”

Rosen did not directly address D’Alessandro’s point that Rosen should have included emergency language in the court order or language directing police to remove the child.

Even though police did not suspect Gabriella was in danger, they didn’t give up immediately.

They contacted a supervisor, who told them to reach out to the District Attorney’s Office. It was a Friday evening, so they reached out to prosecutors who were on weekend duty. They eventually heard back from Assistant District Attorney Mary Clark DiRusso, of the domestic violence bureau, who told them they had no authority to enter the house to get the girl.

“They’re cops, they have high school degrees, they’re not lawyers, they call the people who are supposed to have the answers,” D’Alessandro said. “And Mary made exactly the right call with what they had.”

Abuse hotline called

Police also called the state child abuse hotline, which triggered a notification of Westchester Child Protective Services. CPS initiated an investigation and reached out to the Mamaroneck police officers.

CPS investigators went to the house late that night but there was no answer. They did not ask for police to accompany them.

Police never went back to the house on Friday night or Saturday morning.

In refusing to comply with the order, Arce told the officers that Boyd had visitation with Gabriella the following day and they would handle it then.

D’Alessandro said the officers asked to see Gabriella but that Arce told them she was sleeping.

“If there was some belief that she was in danger, they would have said, ‘I don’t care if the child is asleep, wake her up and let us see her,’ ” D’Alessandro said. “But there was none of that.”

The visitation never took place as Arce told Boyd Saturday morning that Gabriella was sick and that she was taking her to the pediatrician. When Boyd checked with the doctor, at Rosen’s urging, he learned no appointment had been made.

Saturday morning actions questioned

If Rosen was fearful that Gabriella was in danger, D’Alessandro asked, why didn’t he or Boyd reach out to police Saturday morning to let them know Arce wasn’t going forward with the visitation and had lied about the pediatrician?

Asked whether police could have pursued an arrest warrant for criminal contempt because Arce was refusing a court order D’Alessandro said that was possible.

But he said that might not have been appropriate because they only had a copy of the order not the original and that might not have been proper service. There would have been some question about whether Arce could have intentionally violated a court order that she wasn’t properly served.

But D’Alessandro wasn’t certain that avenue was even explored by police and prosecutors.

He said the officers involved remain saddened by Gabriella’s death but are confident they did what they could with the information they had.

“The Mamaroneck cops have become the villains here but they had the least control in this whole situation,” D’Alessandro said. “We strongly believe they did everything they could. They didn’t blow this off. They took it very seriously and tried to do everything they could do within the law.”

Reporter Jorge Fitz-Gibbon contributed. Twitter: @jonbandler

Read or Share this story: https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/westchester/mamaroneck/2018/05/14/mamaroneck-shooting-police-lawyer-blames-dads-attorney/602445002/

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Supreme Court Upholds Individual Rights In 2 Key Criminal Justice Cases – NPR

The Supreme Court decided two key criminal-justices cases Monday that upheld individual rights.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP


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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The Supreme Court handed down five decisions Monday, and one that could pave a path for legalizing sports gambling throughout the country got most of the attention Monday morning. But the court also decided two important criminal-justice and personal rights cases.

In one, McCoy v. Louisiana, the court ruled by a 6-3 margin in favor of a defendant whose lawyer told a jury that his client was guilty, disregarding the explicit instructions of his client. His lawyer wanted him to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty.

“Guaranteeing a defendant the right ‘to have the assistance of counsel for his defense’ is the defendant’s prerogative, not the counsel’s,” the court said in its ruling.

In other words, it’s up to the person accused of a crime how they want to plea, not a lawyer.

In the other, Byrd v. U.S., the court unanimously decided that a driver of a rental car, whose name wasn’t on the rental agreement, still has a reasonable expectation of privacy during a traffic stop. Police found 49 bricks of heroin and body armor in the man’s trunk.

McCoy v. Louisiana

Robert McCoy’s defense attorney told the jury his client was guilty of a triple murder despite the fact that McCoy expressly maintained his innocence. The Supreme Court decided that violated the client’s constitutional right to counsel.

“Guaranteeing a defendant the right ‘to have the ASSISTANCE of Counsel for HIS defence,’ the Sixth Amendment so demands,” the court wrote. “With individual liberty—and, in capital cases, life— at stake, it is the defendant’s prerogative, not counsel’s, to decide on the objective of his defense: to admit guilt in the hope of gaining mercy at the sentencing stage, or to maintain his innocence, leaving it to the State to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

McCoy, was charged with killing three family members in a vain attempt to find his estranged wife, Yolanda. With the help of police, she had fled her Louisiana home after McCoy, at knife point, threatened to kill her. She brought her infant daughter along but left her 17-year-old son with her parents so that he could finish high school and graduate.

A month later, McCoy was arrested and charged with killing his wife’s parents and her son. A 911 tape recorded Yolanda’s mother screaming: “She ain’t here Robert. … I don’t know where she is. … The detectives have her.”

After the sound of a gunshot, the line goes dead.

Despite overwhelming evidence against him, McCoy steadfastly maintained his innocence, alleging that the killings were the product of a drug deal gone bad and that police conspired to frame him, because he supposedly revealed their involvement in drug trafficking. Five months later, state psychiatric experts found McCoy mentally competent to stand trial.

His first lawyers were public defenders, but he fired them for refusing to subpoena his alleged alibi witnesses. His parents then hired Larry English for $5,000. He advised McCoy to plead guilty in exchange for life in prison instead of the death penalty, but McCoy repeatedly refused, insisting that he was innocent. He also refused to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

Finally, English embarked on a strategy of conceding his client’s guilt, in hopes of avoiding the death penalty. Indeed, in his opening argument, he told the jury, “There is no way reasonably possible that you can listen to the evidence and not come” to that conclusion. And in his closing, he told the jurors that he had taken the burden of finding and proving guilt off of them and the prosecutor.

The defense lawyer was hoping that the jury would not sentence McCoy to death if he could convince them that McCoy suffered from diminished mental capacity and should therefore only be convicted of second-degree murder. But, as the prosecutor would soon explain to the jury, that defense was legally unavailable to McCoy, because Louisiana allows a diminished capacity argument only if the defendant has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

In any event, the strategy didn’t work. The jury ultimately sentenced McCoy to death. The Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the decision and an infuriated McCoy, aided by a new lawyer, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, contending that the state had deprived him of his right to counsel.

Byrd v. U.S.

In the age of Zipcar, it’s hardly unusual for a car renter to let his friends or family members drive a car he has leased, without listing those names on the contract.

And the Supreme Court on Monday unanimously agreed with a driver not listed on one of those agreements that he still maintained a reasonable expectation of privacy — and that police needed a warrant to search the vehicle.

Police, who found dozens of bricks of heroin and body armor in the driver’s trunk, argued the man, Terrence Byrd, had no right to privacy given he was not on the rental agreement.

The court disagreed with that argument.

Byrd’s fiancée gave him permission to drive a car she rented, but didn’t list him as one of the drivers.

When police stopped Byrd for a minor traffic violation outside Harrisburg, Pa., he gave officers the rental contract. When they ran his name, they found he had a criminal record and a warrant out for his arrest in neighboring New Jersey.

Without a warrant, they searched the locked trunk of the car, where they found 49 bricks of heroin among Byrd’s possessions.

The Supreme Court held that the man maintained a reasonable expectation of privacy. The court, however, remanded the case to the lower courts to examine whether Byrd had used subterfuge in renting the car and whether that mattered.

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36 Judges Call for Defense Lawyer Pay Hikes – urbanmilwaukee

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Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by The original uploader was Sulfur at English Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by The original uploader was Sulfur at English Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Thirty-six circuit court judges from 18 Wisconsin counties are together publicly supporting a proposal to increase pay for appointed defense lawyers.

“As trial judges, we experience, on a daily basis, the impact that the underfunding of indigent criminal defense has on the quality and integrity of our criminal justice system,” Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Glenn H. Yamahiro wrote to the State Supreme Court. Yamahiro was the main author of the letter and was joined by the other judges.

“These impacts often impede our ability to function effectively and efficiently. We have observed a decline in the quality of representation provided to indigent defendants. Many experienced lawyers have discontinued accepting public defender appointments out of economic necessity. As a result we face an increasing number of inexperienced or underqualified lawyers representing indigent defendants in serious criminal matters.”

Yamahiro and the 35 other judges were commenting on a petition pending before the Supreme Court that seeks to raise from $40 an hour to $100 an hour the amount paid to lawyers appointed by State Public Defender’s Office (SPD) to represent clients who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. The SPD makes the appointments when the office has excessive caseloads or conflicts of interest. The Supreme Court will hold a public hearing on the matter May 16.

“It is imperative that our Supreme Court exercise leadership to address the Constitutional Crisis…because the executive and legislative branches of government have failed to address this problem…over the past 40 years,” Yamahiro wrote.

“We have seen an increasing number of requests for the appointment of new counsel and ineffective assistance of counsel claims,” the letter says. “Cases that we are required to continue based upon ineffective assistance of counsel…have negative impacts on crime victims. In many instances, victims often have to endure additional proceedings such as a resentencing or even retrial, in cases that should be closed. … We believe that it is beyond dispute that the criminal justice system operates at its best when each side has access to quality representation.”

The court must take leadership and address the  because the executive and legislative branches have failed to do so over the past 40 years, he said.

The 35 other judges signing are:

Gretchen Schuldt writes a blog for Wisconsin Justice Initiative, whose mission is “To improve the quality of justice in Wisconsin by educating the public about legal issues and encouraging civic engagement in and debate about the judicial system and its operation.

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Schneiderman Hires Lawyer Known for Criminal Fraud, Assault Cases – Law.com

Former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Photo: Seth Wenig/AP

In the wake of the physical abuse allegations that abruptly propelled him from office, former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has retained Isabelle Kirshner, a well-known New York defense attorney whose law firm, Clayman & Rosenberg, has often represented lawyers in criminal cases.

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Lawyer McLennan County DA fired joins former DA's law practice – KWTX

WACO, Texas (KWTX) A senior McLennan County prosecutor who was dismissed in March because his boss said he was insubordinate has joined the Waco law firm of former McLennan County District Attorney Vic Feazell, where he will practice criminal defense.

District Attorney Abel Reyna dismissed Aubrey Robertson on March 20 after Reyna said Robertson had been insubordinate in the 19th District Court, where Robertson was assigned as trial chief.

The dismissal came on the same day the man who defeated Reyna for a place on the GOP ballot next November visited with Robertson in his courthouse annex office.

Barry Johnson, who defeated Reyna in the March primary election, told KWTX he had visited with Robertson, but the meeting was about certain paperwork that he needed to complete and Robertson provided the documents to Johnson for execution and there was no conversation of a political nature, at all.

Judge Ralph Strother, 19th District Court judge, told KWTX he was not aware of any insubordination in his courtroom.

Shortly after Robertson left the DA’s office, Feazell got a call from a former Waco police officer and McLennan County sheriff’s deputy.

“Truman Simons called me right after that and said if I wanted to start a criminal defense practice, this guy (Robertson) was who I needed to talk to,” Feazell, now a well-known Waco and Austin lawyer who owns a personal injury law firm, said.

Feazell talked with KWTX by phone Thursday night and said he’d been thinking about beginning a criminal defense practice but just hadn’t done it yet.

“I reached out to him (Robertson) a couple of days later, we talked and he started here about a month ago,” Feazell said.

Robertson, 34, is a well-practiced criminal lawyer with experience at both prosecution and defense tables inside the bar.

“He (Feazell) sent me a text message the day I was fired just out of the blue,” Robertson said Friday in a telephone interview with KWTX.

He said since he was dismissed he had been looking around for opportunities, but he really wanted to stay in Waco.

“I love Waco. No matter where I looked I kept coming back to Waco and the legal community here,” Robertson said.

“That day (the day he was terminated) I bet I got a hundred texts and calls from defense lawyers saying they would help or offering their support and that meant a lot to me,” he said.

“I just cannot say enough about the defense bar in Waco and how supportive and helpful those people are,” Robertson said.

So, when Feazell offered, Robertson joined up

Robertson grew up in Houston and graduated from Humble High School in 2001, then from Baylor University with undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Slavic and Eastern European Studies.

He completed law school at New York Law School in 2008 and after graduation worked with the Legal Aid Society of New York City then later served as a law clerk for the Hon. L.B. Stone of the Supreme Court of New York County, and he interned with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Houston.

Robertson, who is single, lives with a boxer he says runs the place, but Waco is his home.

“I really think without that great moral support from the defense bar here it would have been a much harder decision to make.

Some local attorneys say there is an uncanny irony about Robertson joining Feazell, who back in 1988, as elected McLennan County District Attorney, was indicted by a federal grand jury and eventually acquitted at trial on a violation of the federal RICO organized crime act.



RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, passed in 1970 and was aimed at undermining organized crime.

Today several detractors have suggested Reyna, as well, is under investigation for a similar issue but federal agencies have not confirmed, nor have they denied, the existence of any investigation targeting Reyna.

But Dallas-area attorneys F. Clinton Broden, Brian Bouffard and David Conrad Beyer all have appeared recently in Waco district courts where in one case a visiting judge refused to hear testimony or to honor subpoenas duces tecum, and in the other the state filed a motion to recuse a local judge who prior to then had enjoyed prosecutors’ support.

All three lawyers, each of whom represents at least one Twin Peaks shootout defendant, have said publicly they believe Reyna is the target of a federal investigation into impropriety in his office.

And over a series of court hearing associated with the Twin Peaks cases, Reyna has successfully avoided having to provide testimony on the issue.

Reyna, for his part, says he is not aware of any federal investigation that involves him and does not believe that members of his staff have participated in the effort to discolor his service.

“If you believe this you’d have to believe that the FBI has been investigating me since 2014 and they’ve never said a word to me,” Reyna said.

He said the whole thing is purely an effort by a disgruntled former employee and a former political opponent to disgrace him.

Bear in mind, none of this is proven up yet, but Broden put the court on notice he plans to subpoena testimony from several individuals ranging from former assistant district attorneys to current ones, former and current DA staff members, at least two FBI agents and one retired Waco police detective.

In a recent article published on KWTX.com, former Reyna First Assistant DA Greg Davis said he had been subpoenaed to testify about his connection to the DA’s office by one of the attorneys representing a Twin Peaks Massacre client, but posturing on both defense and prosecution sides has put off that testimony and none of Davis’ comments have been heard in open court.

Davis resigned July 31, 2014, the same day long-time Reyna’s administrative assistant Julissa West quit, “because it had become apparent to me that despite my warnings and advice, Reyna had no intention of stopping his practice of giving preferential treatment to his campaign supporters and friends,” Davis said of his departure.

“Both me and Michael (Jarrett, who left the same post as 1st Assistant DA on May 1) warned Abel about his cronyism, doing favors for political contributors, and we told him he didn’t owe anybody anything except to operate his office properly,” Davis said.

Jarrett now works for Texas Farm Bureau.

Though the set of alleged facts in this investigation is different, the whole thing has its parallels to an investigation 32 years ago by both state and federal officers who were intent on bringing down the McLennan County District Attorney.

In early 1985, then Feazell was on a mission to prove that state police had railroaded an East Texas drifter into taking credit for an amazing number of murders all across the country and that Henry Lee Lucas hadn’t committed more than about two.

Two’s bad enough but Texas Rangers would have you believe he’d killed 200, 300, even as many as 600 people over a number of years, helped along by his partner henchman Otis Toole.

“There are similarities between my case and the one Reyna faces,” Feazell said.

“The main difference is who is accusing him and who accused me.”

Testimony during that trial showed some local attorneys accused Feazell of giving special preference in certain driving while intoxicated (DWI) cases in exchange for payoffs.

Feazell had fouled up the Texas Rangers’ investigations into serial killer Henry Lee Lucas’ confessions by convening a special grand jury to investigate the investigators, themselves, intent on proving Lucas’ confessions were a scam perpetrated by the Rangers who provided details of the murders confessed to.

The Rangers didn’t like it and their boss, DPS director James Adams, a former top FBI guy, called in some federal favors.

During the trial agents admitted they’d bugged Feazell courthouse office and his home and he and his wife and child had been the subjects of surveillance during the investigation.

After he was found not guilty, he sued WFAA TV, in Dallas, and the station’s parent company Belo Broadcasting, and was successful in winning what then was the largest libel lawsuit award, $58 million, in U.S. history.

Since then, Feazell has been in private practice.

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Schneiderman lawyer 'confident' he won't face criminal charges – New York Daily News

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Schneiderman lawyer 'confident' he won't face criminal charges
New York Daily News
That's because the governor had asked the AG's office to review the Manhattan District Attorney's relationship with the New York Police Department special victims division and the impact it had on no charges being brought against disgraced Hollywood
Former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's lawyer predicts no criminal chargesPittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Latest: Schneiderman lawyer 'confident' in probe outcomeWashington Post
Schneiderman's Lawyer Confident In Probe OutcomeWAMC

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Eric Schneiderman Resigns as New York Attorney General Amid … – New York Times

Eric Schneiderman Resigns as New York Attorney General Amid Assault Claims by 4 Women

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Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, had assumed a prominent role in the #MeToo movement.CreditDrew Angerer/Getty Images

Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York State attorney general who rose to prominence as an antagonist of the Trump administration, abruptly resigned on Monday night hours after The New Yorker reported that four women had accused him of physically assaulting them.

“It’s been my great honor and privilege to serve as attorney general for the people of the State of New York,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a statement. “In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me.

“While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”

His resignation represented a stunning fall for a politician who had also assumed a prominent role in the #MeToo movement.

[Read some of Eric T. Schneiderman’s own words in defense of women’s rights.]

Two of the women who spoke to the magazine, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, said they had been choked and hit repeatedly by Mr. Schneiderman. Both said they had sought medical treatment. Another woman, a lawyer, said she was slapped violently across the face. A fourth woman said she had similar experiences.

All the women in the article, who had been romantically involved with Mr. Schneiderman, said the violence was not consensual.

Mr. Schneiderman, 63, denied abusing the women, saying in a statement: “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”

But not long after the allegations were made public, many of his allies, including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who like Mr. Schneiderman is a Democrat, called for him to step down.

“My personal opinion is that, given the damning pattern of facts and corroboration laid out in the article, I do not believe it is possible for Eric Schneiderman to continue to serve as attorney general,” Mr. Cuomo said.

The call was echoed by Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, who led the charge to oust Al Franken from the Senate. “The violent actions described by multiple women in this story are abhorrent,” she said in a statement. “Based on this extensive and serious reporting, I do not believe that Eric Schneiderman should continue to serve as attorney general.”

Under New York’s Constitution, Mr. Schneiderman’s replacement will be selected by the State Assembly and Senate by joint ballot — effectively placing the decision in the hands of the Assembly, which has many more members.

The Assembly speaker, Carl E. Heastie, planned to discuss possible replacements on Tuesday, according to Michael Whyland, a spokesman for Mr. Heastie. Whoever is chosen to fill out Mr. Schneiderman’s term could then seek election in November.

No Democrat had declared an intention to challenge Mr. Schneiderman, who was up for re-election this year, in the primary; Manny Alicandro, a corporate lawyer from New York City, is running as a Republican and officially declared his candidacy on Monday.

Since 2017, Mr. Schneiderman had raised his profile nationally by taking on President Trump’s agenda repeatedly in the courts. He was pushing to change state law so that his office could prosecute Mr. Trump’s aides even if the president pardoned them; his resignation makes the status of that effort less certain.

Women’s issues had also been a focal point for Mr. Schneiderman, who had announced, for instance, a lawsuit against the company once run by the former filmmaker Harvey Weinstein, who was accused of decades of sexual misconduct. “We have never seen anything as despicable as what we’ve seen right here,” Mr. Schneiderman said then.

Ms. Manning Barish, in The New Yorker account, described being slapped by Mr. Schneiderman after they had both been drinking; she and Ms. Selvaratnam said several of the attacks occurred after alcohol had been consumed.

“It was horrendous,” she said. “It just came out of nowhere. My ear was ringing. I lost my balance and fell backward onto the bed. I sprang up, but at this point there was very little room between the bed and him. I got up to try to shove him back, or take a swing, and he pushed me back down. He then used his body weight to hold me down, and he began to choke me. The choking was very hard. It was really bad. I kicked. In every fiber, I felt I was being beaten by a man.”

Debra S. Katz, a lawyer for Ms. Manning Barish, said that it was Mr. Schneiderman’s “fantasy and his fantasy alone that the behavior was welcome.”

Mr. Schneiderman, she continued, “has made a career railing against this type of abuse. Yet apparently he intends to revictimize these courageous women who have come forward by pulling out that age old sexist trope that they wanted it.”

Ms. Selvaratnam told the magazine that Mr. Schneiderman routinely drank to excess during their relationship, and that the physical abuse in bed got worse the longer she was with him. “We could rarely have sex without him beating me,” she said.

The abuse was also verbal and emotional, she said. “He started calling me his ‘brown slave’ and demanding that I repeat that I was ‘his property.’”

Both Ms. Manning Barish and Ms. Selvaratnam have in recent days repeatedly declined to comment when reporters for The New York Times asked them to address the allegations.

“After I found out that other women had been abused by Attorney General Schneiderman in a similar manner many years before me, I wondered, who’s next, and knew something needed to be done,” Ms. Selvaratnam said in a statement released Monday night. “So I chose to come forward both to protect women who might enter into a relationship with him in the future but also to raise awareness around the issue of intimate partner violence.”

Ms. Manning Barish followed the article’s publication with a post on Twitter, saying that she “could not remain silent and encourage other women to be brave for me.”

Mr. Schneiderman’s former wife said she was taken aback by the allegations being leveled against him.

“I’ve known Eric for nearly 35 years as a husband, father and friend,” said Jennifer Cunningham, his ex-wife and frequent political strategist. “These allegations are completely inconsistent with the man I know, who has always been someone of the highest character, outstanding values and a loving father.”

Mr. Schneiderman has long been regarded as one of the state’s most progressive politicians, even before his 2013 lawsuit against Trump University and his subsequent suits against the Trump administration made him the darling of the political left. Last fall, Mr. Schneiderman’s office proudly pointed to a segment on the late-night comedy show “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” in which the attorney general was described as “a hero who stood up to democracy’s nemesis,” a Superman-like character known as Schneider-man.

His credentials as an advocate for women, in particular, had gone unquestioned.

In 2010, as a state senator from Manhattan, he introduced a bill to make intentional strangulation to the point of unconsciousness a violent felony. That same year, the National Organization for Women’s New York branch endorsed him in his successful bid for attorney general, citing his “unmatched work” in “protecting women who are victims of domestic abuse.”

For several years, his office has published a “Know Your Rights” brochure for victims of domestic violence. “We must recognize that our work keeping New Yorkers safe from domestic violence is far from over,” Mr. Schneiderman said in the announcement for the 2016 brochure.

At the direction of Governor Cuomo, he was reviewing the 2015 decision by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., not to prosecute Mr. Weinstein after an Italian model accused him of groping her.

Mr. Vance’s office released a statement late Monday, saying that it had “opened an investigation into the recently reported allegations concerning Mr. Schneiderman.”

Some national Republicans were gleeful at the allegations. The Republican research shop America Rising quickly packaged Mr. Schneiderman’s ties to other prominent national Democrats.

Also on Monday evening, Mr. Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. dug up an old tweet from Mr. Schneiderman in which he said, “No one is above the law” and tweeted at him, “You were saying???”

On Monday afternoon, a criminal defense lawyer from Lankler Siffert & Wohl advised Mr. Scheiderman as he sought to respond to The New Yorker, two people with knowledge of the matter said. Later in the day, one of Mr. Schneiderman’s associates contacted several other law firms in an effort to retain a lawyer to represent him in connection with the criminal investigation, according to several people briefed on the matter.

Reporting was contributed by Ellen Gabler, Shane Goldmacher, Jesse McKinley and William K. Rashbaum.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Reports of Abuse Spur Resignation of Schneiderman. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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Eric Schneiderman, New York Attorney General, Quits After Assault Claims – New York Times

Eric Schneiderman, New York Attorney General, Quits After Assault Claims

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Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, had assumed a prominent role in the #MeToo movement.CreditDrew Angerer/Getty Images

Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York State attorney general who rose to prominence as an antagonist of the Trump administration, abruptly resigned on Monday night hours after The New Yorker reported that four women had accused him of physically assaulting them.

“It’s been my great honor and privilege to serve as attorney general for the people of the State of New York,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a statement. “In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me.

“While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”

His resignation represented a stunning fall for a politician who had also assumed a prominent role in the #MeToo movement.

Two of the women who spoke to the magazine, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, said they had been choked and hit repeatedly by Mr. Schneiderman. Both said they had sought medical treatment. Another woman, a lawyer, said she was slapped violently across the face. A fourth woman said she had similar experiences.

All the women in the article, who had been romantically involved with Mr. Schneiderman, said the violence was not consensual.

Mr. Schneiderman, 63, denied abusing the women, saying in a statement: “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”

But not long after the allegations were made public, many of his allies, including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who like Mr. Schneiderman is a Democrat, called for him to step down.

“My personal opinion is that, given the damning pattern of facts and corroboration laid out in the article, I do not believe it is possible for Eric Schneiderman to continue to serve as attorney general,” Mr. Cuomo said.

The call was echoed by Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, who led the charge to oust Al Franken from the Senate. “The violent actions described by multiple women in this story are abhorrent,” she said in a statement. “Based on this extensive and serious reporting, I do not believe that Eric Schneiderman should continue to serve as attorney general.”

Under New York’s Constitution, Mr. Schneiderman’s replacement will be selected by the State Assembly and Senate by joint ballot — effectively placing the decision in the hands of the Assembly, which has many more members.

The Assembly speaker, Carl E. Heastie, planned to discuss possible replacements on Tuesday, according to Michael Whyland, a spokesman for Mr. Heastie. Whoever is chosen to fill out Mr. Schneiderman’s term could then seek election in November.

No Democrat had declared an intention to challenge Mr. Schneiderman, who was up for re-election this year, in the primary; Manny Alicandro, a corporate lawyer from New York City, is running as a Republican and officially declared his candidacy on Monday.

Since 2017, Mr. Schneiderman had raised his profile nationally by taking on President Trump’s agenda repeatedly in the courts. He was pushing to change state law so that his office could prosecute Mr. Trump’s aides even if the president pardoned them; his resignation makes the status of that effort less certain.

Women’s issues had also been a focal point for Mr. Schneiderman, who had announced, for instance, a lawsuit against the company once run by the former filmmaker Harvey Weinstein, who was accused of decades of sexual misconduct. “We have never seen anything as despicable as what we’ve seen right here,” Mr. Schneiderman said then.

Ms. Manning Barish, in The New Yorker account, described being slapped by Mr. Schneiderman after they had both been drinking; she and Ms. Selvaratnam said several of the attacks occurred after alcohol had been consumed.

“It was horrendous,” she said. “It just came out of nowhere. My ear was ringing. I lost my balance and fell backward onto the bed. I sprang up, but at this point there was very little room between the bed and him. I got up to try to shove him back, or take a swing, and he pushed me back down. He then used his body weight to hold me down, and he began to choke me. The choking was very hard. It was really bad. I kicked. In every fiber, I felt I was being beaten by a man.”

Debra S. Katz, a lawyer for Ms. Manning Barish, said that it was Mr. Schneiderman’s “fantasy and his fantasy alone that the behavior was welcome.”

Mr. Schneiderman, she continued, “has made a career railing against this type of abuse. Yet apparently he intends to revictimize these courageous women who have come forward by pulling out that age old sexist trope that they wanted it.”

Ms. Selvaratnam told the magazine that Mr. Schneiderman routinely drank to excess during their relationship, and that the physical abuse in bed got worse the longer she was with him. “We could rarely have sex without him beating me,” she said.

The abuse was also verbal and emotional, she said. “He started calling me his ‘brown slave’ and demanding that I repeat that I was ‘his property.’”

Both Ms. Manning Barish and Ms. Selvaratnam have in recent days repeatedly declined to comment when reporters for The New York Times asked them to address the allegations.

“After I found out that other women had been abused by Attorney General Schneiderman in a similar manner many years before me, I wondered, who’s next, and knew something needed to be done,” Ms. Selvaratnam said in a statement released Monday night. “So I chose to come forward both to protect women who might enter into a relationship with him in the future but also to raise awareness around the issue of intimate partner violence.”

Ms. Manning Barish followed the article’s publication with a post on Twitter, saying that she “could not remain silent and encourage other women to be brave for me.”

Mr. Schneiderman’s former wife said she was taken aback by the allegations being leveled against him.

“I’ve known Eric for nearly 35 years as a husband, father and friend,” said Jennifer Cunningham, his ex-wife and frequent political strategist. “These allegations are completely inconsistent with the man I know, who has always been someone of the highest character, outstanding values and a loving father.”

Mr. Schneiderman has long been regarded as one of the state’s most progressive politicians, even before his 2013 lawsuit against Trump University and his subsequent suits against the Trump administration made him the darling of the political left. Last fall, Mr. Schneiderman’s office proudly pointed to a segment on the late-night comedy show “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” in which the attorney general was described as “a hero who stood up to democracy’s nemesis,” a Superman-like character known as Schneider-man.

His credentials as an advocate for women, in particular, had gone unquestioned.

In 2010, as a state senator from Manhattan, he introduced a bill to make intentional strangulation to the point of unconsciousness a violent felony. That same year, the National Organization for Women’s New York branch endorsed him in his successful bid for attorney general, citing his “unmatched work” in “protecting women who are victims of domestic abuse.”

For several years, his office has published a “Know Your Rights” brochure for victims of domestic violence. “We must recognize that our work keeping New Yorkers safe from domestic violence is far from over,” Mr. Schneiderman said in the announcement for the 2016 brochure.

At the direction of Governor Cuomo, he was reviewing the 2015 decision by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., not to prosecute Mr. Weinstein after an Italian model accused him of groping her.

Mr. Vance’s office released a statement late Monday, saying that it had “opened an investigation into the recently reported allegations concerning Mr. Schneiderman.”

Some national Republicans were gleeful at the allegations. The Republican research shop America Rising quickly packaged Mr. Schneiderman’s ties to other prominent national Democrats.

Also on Monday evening, Mr. Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., dug up an old tweet from Mr. Schneiderman in which he said “No one is above the law” and tweeted at him, “You were saying???”By night’s end, Mr. Schneiderman had retained a criminal defense lawyer from the law firm of Lankler Siffert & Wohl, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Reporting was contributed by Ellen Gabler, Shane Goldmacher, Jesse McKinley and William K. Rashbaum.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Reports of Abuse Spur Resignation of Schneiderman. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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The Many Hustles of Michael Cohen – Fortune

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and general-purpose fixer, is now under federal investigation for possible criminal business activities. That investigation could have major implications for the president—and Cohen’s history suggests investigators will have a lot to look at.

Cohen’s business dealings have spanned big-city taxis and real estate in addition to a legal practice focused on personal injury cases. A new examination of Cohen’s record by the New York Times finds that he has frequently crossed paths with unsavory characters. In one case, Cohen was reportedly tasked with delivering a payment to one Vitaly Buslaev, who has been tied to the Mafia. That’s just one of Cohen’s many connections to individuals from former Soviet states. Those connections are of particular relevance given special counsel Robert Mueller’s focus on the Trump campaign’s dealings with Russia, and Cohen’s personal role in exploring Trump Organization deals in Russia in the midst of the 2016 campaign.

Cohen also helped set up a half-dozen clinics and medical billing companies in the early 2000s, including registering medical practices headed by doctors Alexsander Martirosov and Zhanna Kanevsky. Just a few years later, Martisorov and Kanevsky were charged with defrauding insurance companies by faking auto accidents. Cohen was not implicated in those allegations, and charges against Martirosov were later dropped. But according to the Times, the scam was of a kind dominated by criminal organizations from former Soviet countries.

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Cohen has also made real estate deals that experts described to the Times as suspicious. In one transaction, Cohen sold four Manhattan buildings for $32 million in cash in a single day, nearly three times what he paid for them just a few years before. A former banker commenting on those transactions described Cohen as “the type of person you’d see most bankers steer clear of.” The identity of the buyers in those deals is unknown.

Cohen has also both made and received large loans on the basis of questionable collateral. In 2014, Cohen borrowed at least $20 million against the value of taxi medallions he owns. Those loans were refinanced to delay repayment just last month, even as taxi medallions have lost a great deal of value thanks to the rise of ride-hailing services like Uber. Cohen’s taxi businesses owe more than $375,000 in taxes and fines in New York and Chicago, according to the Times. But Cohen and his father-in-law have nonetheless made millions of dollars in loans to the manager of Cohen’s Chicago taxis, with few assets to back them up.

All of this fits a pattern common to Donald Trump and others in his orbit. Jared Kushner’s family business faces massive, potentially catastrophic debt related to its Manhattan real estate holdings, and signs that Kushner has sought financing in Russia may have contributed to the recent downgrading of his national security clearance. Trump’s own business obligations, not all of which are understood because he has not made customary financial disclosures, have figured heavily in discussions of his own possible conflicts of interest as president.

As speculation mounts that Cohen could turn on the president to defend his own interests, what may have initially brought them together could wind up tearing them apart.

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