Monday, January 30, 2006

Retaliation Charged by Mafia Attorney

Friends of ours: Joey "the Clown" Lombardo

The longtime criminal attorney for former Cumberland County judge and convicted felon Robert Cochonour wants to leave the case because his representation of an alleged Chicago mob boss is consuming all of his time. "I'm gone," attorney Rick Halprin said Friday in Toledo. "I have no more time to be dealing with matters in this district." Halprin, of Chicago, has represented Cochonour since 2002, when Cochonour resigned as Cumberland County resident judge and soon after admitted to stealing from an estate under his care.

Halprin's other clients include Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, a reputed mob leader whom the FBI took into custody Jan. 13 in suburban Chicago. Following a lengthy federal investigation of unsolved mob assassinations, Lombardo and 13 others were indicted last April, according to the Associated Press. On Jan. 18 Lombardo pleaded not guilty to charges of racketeering conspiracy.

On Friday in Toledo, Halprin said the judge in the Lombardo case set a "very early" trial date. Halprin also noted that some of the current issues related to Cochonour - namely real estate matters - are outside of his expertise. "I'm not competent to handle these matters," Halprin said. "And the results, as far as I'm concerned, are preordained, and I'm sure (Cochonour's co-counsel Michael) Collins can handle them." But probate Judge Stephen Pacey indicated Halprin's departure from the case may not be so easy. "You haven't withdrawn yet," said Pacey.

Halprin, in turn, accused Pacey of being vengeful because Halprin has accused the judge of malfeasance in several cases involving Cochonour. "I regard it as retaliatory," Halprin said.

Thanks to Nathaniel West

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