The New York Post by KATI CORNELL - July 30, 2009
A well-known Manhattan attorney was ready to pay off witnesses against his drug-kingpin client and would have been happy to see them "disappear," according to tapes by a federal informant. The attorney, Robert Simels, 62, hashed out possible fees he was willing to shell out to witnesses as a Guyanese gang member who was secretly cooperating with the feds recorded the conversations in 2008. "We can buy his house from him, right," Simels asked Selwyn Vaughn as they discussed a witness looking to sell his home and a hotel in Guyana. "We could buy the hotel." In another chat, a recording of which was played in Brooklyn federal court, Simels seemed unfazed when Vaughn suggested making close associates of a witness "disappear" because "it sends a message." "I'm gonna leave it to you to figure out what's going to best get to him," Simels said.
Lawyer Robert Simels accused of illegal tactics in drug kingpin defense - The New York Daily News by John Marzulli - July 28, 2009------ Brash lawyer Robert Simels adopted a "win at all costs" strategy for a drug kingpin client, plotting to bribe, intimidate and silence witnesses, a federal prosecutor charged Monday. "A license to practice law is not a license to break the law," Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Brownell said in his opening statement in Brooklyn Federal Court. Brownell said Simels, 62, told a government informant, "I'm going to do whatever I gotta do" to win an acquittal for client Shaheed (Roger) Khan, a major cocaine trafficker from Guyana. Simels was a "puppet master" orchestrating the illegal campaign with law associate Arienne Irving, who is also charged with obstructing justice and witness tampering, Brownell said. They face up to life in prison, if convicted. Khan pleaded guilty in March, but he is not testifying against his former mouthpiece. Defense lawyer Gerald Shargel claimed Simels was carrying out a sting operation after learning from the informant that witnesses against Khan were seeking bribes. Simels will take the witness stand "to explain exactly what he intended," Shargel promised the jury. Known for his flamboyant and abrasive courtroom style, Simels has represented crack king Kenneth (Supreme) McGriff, mob rat Henry Hill of "GoodFellas" fame and former New York Jet Mark Gastineau.