|Paul Bergrin - the former prosecutor defended himself|
by Jason Grant The Star Ledger
NEWARK – Paul W. Bergrin, the once-prominent defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor who was convicted of murder, cocaine trafficking, racketeering and other crimes, was sentenced early this afternoon to six life sentences.
As U.S. District Judge Dennis Cavanaugh began to rattle off the punishments he was imposing on Bergrin in federal court, he gave voice to what many in the courtroom understood already: that Bergrin, a now 57-year-old former lawyer to rap stars, drug lords and U.S. soldiers accused of crimes of abuse in Iraq, will spend “the remainder of his natural life” behind bars.
There is no parole in the federal system.
In addition to the six life sentences, Cavanaugh handed down decades more prison time to Bergrin, methodically going over each of the 23 criminal counts he was found guilty of last March. The multiple prison sentences will run concurrently with the life prison terms (all of which are also concurrent).
Bergrin, a barrel-chested ex-Army major and one-time amateur boxer, stood quietly behind the defense table in Newark in his beige prison scrubs as the judge read aloud one prison sentence after another. Nearly straight-backed, his jaw clenched, Bergrin simply fixed his eyes on a wall straight ahead and listened. Then he sat back down, his mouth still shut.
Once a high-profile trial attorney, Bergrin had argued during today's contentious, 3-hour hearing for exceptions to -- or “departures from” -- the long prison sentences most observers had expected. But in almost every instance, the judge rejected arguments and requests made by Bergrin and his court-appointed supporting counsel, Lawrence Lustberg.
At one point in a 40-minute speech he made to the judge, Bergrin called out plaintively, “I stand before you as humble as a human being can be. I have been brought as low as a person can possibly be brought.”
Still, vowing to appeal the jury-verdict, he also bellowed, “But I am not broken.” 'via Blog this'