Paul Bergrin

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Paul Bergrin
Born (1955-12-08) December 8, 1955 (age 66)
New Jersey, United States
OccupationProsecutor, defense attorney
Spouse(s)Barbara Bergrin (divorced)[1]
Criminal chargeConspiracy to murder a witness, bribery, fraud, racketeering, drug dealing, prostitution
Imprisoned atADX Florence

Paul Bergrin (born December 8, 1956) is an American former criminal defense lawyer and convicted felon who practiced law in Newark, New Jersey. Prior to his conviction, he was known for defending a range of famous and notorious clients.[2] His license to practice law was suspended by the New Jersey Supreme Court in 2009, and he was sentenced to life in federal prison for multiple charges in 2013.

Career history[edit]

Bergrin was a major in the U.S. Army, serving in the 75th Ranger Regiment. After his service, Bergrin held posts as a prosecutor in Essex County, New Jersey and, starting in 1987, for the U.S. Government as an assistant U.S. Attorney, where he served under both Samuel Alito and Michael Chertoff.[3]

After his stints as State and Federal prosecutor, Bergrin became a defense lawyer. From 1990 to 2005, he was a partner at Pope, Bergrin & Verdesco. Bergrin's clients included gang leaders, drug dealers, and celebrities, including drug kingpin Hakeem "E.T Hak" Curry, Angelo "The Horn" Prisco, Queen Latifah, Naughty by Nature and Lil' Kim. He also represented Heather "Hedy" DiCarlo, a former Mrs. New Jersey accused of bouncing more than $70,000 in checks. He defended Javal Davis (charged along with Lynndie England), an Army reservist from Roselle, New Jersey who in 2005 admitted abusing detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, as well as PFC Corey R. Clagett, who was convicted in the Iron Triangle Murders.

Among his last cases prior to his arrest was a national multi-defendant OxyContin racketeering (RICO) case, in which his client Enin Martin plead guilty in February 2009 to racketeering, facing 17 years in prison.[4]

New York magazine called Bergrin "The Baddest Lawyer in the History of Jersey—And that's saying something".[2]

Criminal indictments[edit]

In May 2009, Bergrin pleaded guilty to running a prostitution ring in New York City called N.Y. Confidential. He was sentenced to time served (amounting to several hours awaiting processing), 3 years probation, and forfeiture of $50,000. Later that same month, he was arrested for conspiring to murder an informant in March 2004 to prevent his testimony against one of Bergrin's clients.[3] From the time of this arrest until November 2009, Bergrin was held in a Special Housing Unit (SHU) by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. A federal judge ordered his release into the general population (the main body of inmates).[citation needed]

On April 12, 2011, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated "RICO" racketeering charges against Bergrin, which had been dismissed by the trial court.[5]

On June 6, 2011, Bergrin was charged with a multitude of federal criminal charges: a federal grand jury returned a 138-page, second superseding indictment against Bergrin, previously accused of heading a crime syndicate involved in bribery, mortgage fraud and murder of a witness, now adding racketeering charges.[citation needed]

Bergrin's first trial in 2011, on a portion of the charges, ended in a hung jury. The trial judge was William J. Martini, Bergrin was represented by Larry Lustberg of Gibbons P.C. Robert A. Mintz, of the Newark firm McCarter & English was appointed receiver for Bergrin's law practice.[citation needed]

On March 18, 2013, a jury convicted attorney Bergrin of all 23 counts on which he was tried, including conspiracy to murder a witness and other racketeering, cocaine and prostitution offenses. The U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, Paul J. Fishman, announced the verdict. "Bergrin's conduct was a stunning violation of his role as an officer of the court and a betrayal of his roots as a member of law enforcement", said U.S. Attorney Fishman. "Today, the jury returned the verdict compelled by the evidence and imposed the justice he deserved. We take no joy from his tragic fall, but I am extremely proud of the work done by those in my office and agents from the FBI, IRS and DEA that led to this just result."[6]

Bergrin received a life sentence on September 23, 2013.[7] On December 18, 2014, his convictions and sentences were upheld by a three-judge federal appeals panel.[8]


  1. ^ "Indictment of Paul Bergrin" (PDF). United States Department of Justice. May 20, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 30, 2009. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
  2. ^ a b Mark Jacobson (June 5, 2011). "The Baddest Lawyer in the History of Jersey". New York. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "New Jersey Attorney Paul Bergrin Charged in Witness's Murder". Bloomberg News. May 21, 2009. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  4. ^ "State of New Jersey". Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  5. ^ US v. Bergrin, vol. 650, December 15, 2010, p. 257, retrieved October 23, 2019
  6. ^ "Jury Finds Attorney Paul W. Bergrin Guilty On All Counts After Racketeering Trial". U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. March 18, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  7. ^ "Attorney Paul W. Bergrin Sentenced To Life In Prison For Murder Conspiracy And Racketeering Offenses". U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. September 23, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  8. ^ "Third Circuit OKs Conviction of Prosecutor-Turned-Criminal". NJLawJournal. December 18, 2014. Retrieved March 1, 2016.