Federal prosecutors and defense lawyers made their opening arguments yesterday in the racketeering trial against reputed Lucchese soldier Nicodemo S. Scarfo a/k/a Nicky Jr. and six others for their alleged roles in the extortionate takeover and systematic looting of the publicly-traded mortgage company FirstPlus Financial Group, Inc. as reported by The Associated Press.
Funny enough, four lawyers also are charged in the alleged scheme, and "New York City attorneys Gary McCarthy and David Adler, Texas attorney William Maxwell, and Scarfo's longtime criminal defense attorney, Donald Manno, will aim to prove they were working in a legal capacity - representing mobsters - and not working with them" as reported by Julia Terruso for the Inquirer.
Last October West Reading, PA lawyer Cory Leshner pleaded guilty in the case, and he faces five years when sentenced on January 17 and has agreed "to not seek the reinstatement of his license to practice law while serving any prison sentence" as reported by Stephanie Weaver for the Reading Eagle.
Let's hope that Scarfo is not unfairly prejudiced before the jury simply because so many of his co-defendants are lawyers; after all, the legal profession on the whole is held in low esteem by the general public, and it would be unfortunate if any of that enmity spilled over to pollute Scarfo. Frankly, Scarfo's defense lawyer may wish to consider filing a motion with the court to sever his client from being tried with the lawyer co-defendants to avoid any prejudicial effect that possibly could result.
Further reading that may be of interest: