The New York Post by STEFANIE COHEN and CLEMENTE LISI - September 10, 2008
A prominent lawyer was charged today with attempting to "eliminate" the main witness against his drug kingpin client, federal officials said. Robert Simels was arrested this afternoon and accused in an 18-page federal complaint of paying $1,000 for the hit - which also included strict orders not to kill the witness' mother. Simels, who will be arraigned with conspiring to obstruct justice this afternoon in Brooklyn federal court, is alleged to have arranged the hit for his client, Shaheed Kahn, who ran a drug-dealing ring known as the "Phantom Squad." Kahn allegedly told Simels that the case against him hinged on one man - identified in court papers as "John Doe No 1." Simels wanted to "eliminate" and "neutralize" the witness, authorities said.
He allegedly told a government informant at one point that, "Obviously, any witness you can eliminate is a good thing." The feds said that on June 19, Simels met with the government informant in his Manhattan office and handed over $1,000 down payment for the hit. The two were caught on tape, according to the federal complaint, with Simels saying, "Here's $1,000 to get started." When the undercover informant said "no problem," Simels replied, "All [Kahn] says is be careful. He says don't kill the [witness'] mother." During the brief conversation, Simels also said, "Well, [Kahn] would like as much pressure being put on [John Doe No. 1] as possible." During his 30-year career, Simels has represented several dangerous criminals as well as A-list stars. He has defender the likes of Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, a notorious gang leader who built a crack empire in Queens and had two rivals assassinated in 2001; former Jets stars Marc Gastineau and Ken O'Brien; and mobster-turned-rat Henry Hill, whose life was the basis for the hit movie, "Goodfellas."
Here's the New York Daily News article on 'Officer of the Court' Robert Simels:
Lawyer plotted to kill and bribe witnesses in drug goon's trial - feds
The New York Daily News by JOHN MARZULLI - September 10, 2008
A prominent defense lawyer was busted Wednesday on charges he and a major narcotics trafficker plotted to bribe witnesses or murder their family members. Robert Simels, whose roster of clients includes drug kingpin Kenneth (Supreme) McGriff, former football star Mark Gastineau and gangster Henry Hill of "GoodFellas" fame, was arrested by Drug Enforcement Administration agents at his upper East Side office. On his Web site, the flamboyant lawyer notes he started out prosecuting corrupt cops, led a "legendary" law firm and was once dubbed "the Rolls-Royce of litigators."
Simels, 61, is charged with obstructing justice by conspiring to "eliminate" and "neutralize" potential witnesses who might testify at the upcoming trial of client Shaheed (Roger) Khan, a reputed leader of a violent drug organization based in Georgetown, Guyana. Brooklyn federal prosecutors say Simels asked a member of Khan's so-called "Phantom Squad" - a paramilitary group that provides muscle for the drug dealers - for help last May in finding rats who cooperated against his client. Prosecutors said the Phantom member was one of those rats. "Simels discussed with the (informant) what to do when the potential witnesses or their family members were located," DEA agent Cassandra Jackson said in an affidavit. "In substance and in part, Simels discussed a range of options, from offering them money to murdering their family members." In one secretly recorded conversation, he asked about "heat" coming back to Khan if a government witness refused to testify because someone close to him or her "falls off the face of the Earth." Simels told the informant he was leaving it up to him to figure out "what's going to best get to him (the witness)," but later told the informant not to kill the witness' mother. Simels was released on a $3.5 million bond secured by his home in Waccabuc, Westchester County. Khan, also charged in the conspiracy, was not in court Wednesday. Simels' associate Arienne Irving, who also was arrested, was freed on a $500,000 bond. "Bob Simels is well-known as a tenacious, effective and highly capable defense lawyer and he was doing his work," said his lawyer Gerald Shargel. "These charges are false and we intend to mount a vigorous defense." firstname.lastname@example.org
TO READ THE CRIMINAL COMPLAINT, CLICK HERE