Fourteen years for legal eagle
A Brooklyn attorney who was accused of threatening and intimidating witnesses scheduled to testify against his drug lord client was sentenced to 14 years in prison Friday, Federal prosecutors said.
Robert Simels’ sentencing comes three months after the 62-year-old attorney’s conviction on conspiracy to obstruct justice through witness tampering charges.
Prosecutors said his downfall came when, while defending drug kingpin Shaheed Khan, he tapped his client’s Guyana-based criminal organization to help him identify, locate and tamper with anyone he believed would end up becoming government witnesses at Khan’s upcoming trial.
Simels is charged with meeting a former member of Khan’s criminal organization and discussing a range of actions against prospective witnesses and their families %u2013 unsavory methods that included bribery and acts of violence, officials said. He was also accused of possessing electronic eavesdropping equipment that Khan had used to intercept and record telephone calls on people who were later murdered by the drug lord’s crew.
Just hours before the sentencing, Judge Gleeson granted a motion by attorney Arienne Irving, Simels’ associate who was swept up in the senior lawyer’s investigation. Irving asked Judge Gleeson to set aside the jury’s guilty verdict and dismiss the case against her.
Federal prosecutors didn’t object.
©2009 Community News Group
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