Thursday, August 27, 2009

Jury finds Simels guilty in witness tampering case
The “Rolls Royce of attorneys” has fallen from grace. After nearly a week of deliberations, a jury has found Waccabuc resident Robert Simels guilty of attempted witness tampering, leaving him facing a potential sentence of life in prison.

Before his fall, Mr. Simels had been a high-profile criminal defense lawyer in New York City, whose clients included such noted figures as former New York Jets Ken O’Brien and Mark Gastineau, gang leader Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, who had been accused of funneling drug money into rap music label Murder Inc., and Henry Hill, whose exploits were the basis of the movie Goodfellas.

The 62-year-old lawyer has been detained in his home with electronic monitoring until his sentencing on Nov. 20. Jurors announced on Thursday, Aug. 20, that Mr. Simels had been found guilty of the charges, which stemmed from his defense of alleged drug lord Shaheed “Short Man” Khan. Mr. Simels was convicted of eight counts of attempted witness tampering, relating to eight witnesses against Mr. Khan, as well as conspiracy to commit witness tampering, bribery, importation of eavesdropping equipment, and possession of eavesdropping equipment. The last two counts were related to equipment found in Mr. Simels’ office that was designed to intercept cellular phone calls.


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