For his former colleagues in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, it stings a bit to watch Paul Bergrin brought into a federal courtroom in a green jumpsuit and shackles. But the ritual was repeated today as he and three accused associates pleaded not guilty to murder and witness intimidation.
Bergrin, 53, once put criminals away, first with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and then as an assistant U.S. attorney. He then went into private practice defending gang members and rap stars, including Li’l Kim and Queen Latifah.
Early last month, Bergrin admitted running a $1,000-an-hour escort service with the man who later hired Eliot Spitzer’s favorite hooker — a Belmar woman best known as Ashley Dupree.
But that’s nothing compared to the government’s charges that he systematically derailed criminal cases against his clients — once by arranging the murder of a key witness and another time by hiring a hit man. Prosecutors say they have proof he also encouraged others to lie or flee.
Bergrin, who has bulked up considerably since his days working for the government, didn’t speak in federal court in Newark today. He was arraigned along with fellow attorney Thomas Moran and three other defendants and continues to be held without bail, pending the outcome of the case.
The government could seek the death penalty.
For more on this story, go to: Pimp lawyer gets spanked.