MAR 18 (NEWARK, N.J.) – A federal jury has convicted Paul W. Bergrin, 57, of Nutley, N.J., of all 23 counts on which he was tried, including conspiracy to murder a witness and other racketeering, cocaine and prostitution offenses. The verdict was announced today by New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.
The jury returned the verdict after two months of trial before U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh in Newark federal court.
“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.”
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
Bergrin turned his law firm and related corporations into a racketeering enterprise, through which he conspired to tamper with witnesses, distribute cocaine and facilitate drug trafficking, prostitution and bribery, among other things. The government also proved Bergrin conspired to murder witnesses to protect the drug trafficking enterprise, one of whom was shot to death to prevent him from testifying in court.
At sentencing, currently scheduled for July 18, 2013, Bergrin faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison on each of the following counts: count three, violent crimes in aid of racketeering; count 12, conspiring to murder a federal witness to prevent his testimony at an official proceeding; and count 13, aiding and abetting the murder of a federal witness to prevent testimony at an official proceeding. He also faces a maximum term of life in prison on four other counts.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division – under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert G. Koval; FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge David Velazquez; and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen, with the investigation leading to the conviction.
The government is represented by John Gay, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division; Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph N. Minish of the office’s Organized Crime/Gangs Unit; and Steven Sanders of the office’s Appeals Division in Newark.