Gerald Shargel (born October 5, 1944) is an American defense attorney based in New York City who has been a member of the New York Bar since 1969. He is widely regarded as one of the best lawyers in America - The New Yorker in a 10,000 word profile said he is "...a criminal lawyer considered quite possibly the finest of his generation, a man of elegance in the courtroom, who has said he models his oratory on Martin Luther King, Jr....The most scholarly judges treat him as an equal...He is also one of the best pure trial lawyers in town, known for the exceptional skill of his cross examination and for his physicality..."
He has garnered attention as both a trial and appellate lawyer, representing white-collar clients and ordinary criminal defendants, but is most famous for along with Bruce Cutler, securing the acquittal of Mafia boss John J. Gotti in 1990 on New York State charges that Gotti had ordered the shooting of labor union official John F. O'Connor.
Shargel was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He graduated from Rutgers University in 1966 and from Brooklyn Law School in 1969.
Shargel is widely regarded as one of the best criminal lawyers in New York. The New York Times in an extensive profile referred to him as "charming", and one "regarded on Centre Street as a brilliant tactician and a very good trial lawyer with a successful white-collar practice." In receiving the Thurgood Marshall Award for Outstanding Criminal Law Practitioner by the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in 2006 he was referred to as "one of the most brilliant criminal defense attorneys in America… quite possibly the finest of his generation."
In a 1991 federal case against the Gambino crime family, Shargel was initially slated to represent underboss Sammy Gravano. However, Judge I. Leo Glasser barred Shargel and Bruce Cutler from representing Gravano and Gotti, respectively, agreeing with prosecutors' assertion that the lawyers were "house counsel" to the Gambinos. Prosecutors, including now-Judge John Gleeson, contended that since Shargel and Cutler may have known about criminal activity, they were "part of the evidence" and liable to be called as witnesses.
Shargel's high-profile clients include Daniel Pelosi, who was charged and later convicted of the second-degree murder of East Hampton millionaire Ted Ammon, and Robert "Joe" Halderman in the matter of Halderman's extortion of TV personality David Letterman. Shargel represented Halderman from October 2009 to March 9, 2010, when Halderman entered a plea-bargained guilty plea.
Shargel is well-known for his courtroom style and dramatic presentations - in 2005, Murder Inc. record label owners Irv and Chris Gotti (no relation to the Mafia boss mentioned above) were acquitted on all charges. There were a number of lively exchanges between Shargel and NYPD detective Anthony Castiglia during testimony.
In 2012, Shargel represented Hip-Hop mogul James "Jimmy Henchman" Rosemond, CEO of Czar Entertainment, in a federal trial in Brooklyn, New York presided over by Judge Gleeson. Rosemond was convicted on all charges, including cocaine distribution, conspiracy, money laundering, firearms possession and witness tampering. On October 25, 2013, Rosemond was sentenced to life imprisonment.
As of June 2013, in addition to his trial work, he teaches criminal-law classes at his alma mater, Brooklyn Law School. Shargel holds the position of Practitioner-In-Residence at Brooklyn Law School, teaching courses on evidence, criminal procedure and trial advocacy.
He is a frequent writer and commentator on legal issues that arise during high profile criminal cases, which generate sustained national and regional media focus.Amanda Bynes
New York State Senator Malcolm A. Smith of Queens
Texas oilman Oscar S. Wyatt, Jr. who pleaded guilty to paying kickbacks to the Hussein administration to gain access to Iraqi oil contracts
Restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow
Gurmeet Singh Dhinsa, who was found guilty
Christopher "Irv Gotti" Lorenzo, co-founder of Murder Inc Records who was acquitted of all charges against him
John Gotti's son, John A. Gotti
Marc Dreier, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison
Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano
James "Jimmy Henchman" Rosemond
Johnny "Machinegun Johnny" Eng