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capeci capeci capeci jerry TACOPINA Red Hot NY Lawyer Tacopina Gets Big Chill From

capeci capeci capeci jerry TACOPINA Red Hot NY Lawyer Tacopina Gets Big Chill From

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Published by: truthrat on Jun 11, 2011
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06/11/2011

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Red Hot NY Lawyer Tacopina Gets Big ChillFromWiseguys
Joseph Tacopina, the handsome high-profile lawyerwho delivers pithy sound-bites on network TV and backs up his legalbanter with successes in court, is flying high these days.And why not? Following his most recent courtroom victory – a rapecase that looked like a sure-fire loser to most observers – the smooth-talking Madison Avenue attorney seems well worth the reported $750an hour that he gets for his talented services these days.Whether it’s an NYPD cop accused of rape, a city councilman chargedwith bashing and slashing his girlfriend, or a Sopranos actor on trial forthe murder of a cop, Tacopina has shown quite convincingly that hehas what it takes to turn the tables on the prosecution.But there’s an important segment of criminal justice consumers whohave been giving the Brooklyn-born and bred barrister a wide berth.WhileTacopinahas represented numerous wiseguys and cohorts of atleast four New York area crime families in years past, his current rosterof clients appears devoid of mob-tied customers, local courtdatabases show.In fact, Tacopina, once a sought-after attorney by mobsters in trouble,handled his last mob-connected defendant when he represented anassociate who was charged along with Genovese capos Matthew(Matty The Horse)Ianniello(left) and CiroPerronein a 2005 labor racketeering indictment involving the family’s longtime control over aunion that represents city school bus drivers.Tacopina’s wiseguy clients appear to have dropped away after hebecame entangled in a fee-splitting and tax evasion probe of aprominent New York lawyer. That investigation arose out of thefederal corruption investigation of a high-profile former Tacopina client,disgraced ex-NYPD Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik.Tacopinalater became a cooperating witness against Kerik, a statusthat was publicly disclosed in court papers three years ago. Butsources tell Gang Land that, while the Kerik probe was ongoing,Tacopina told the feds that he had funneled a substantial amount ofcash, about $100,000, to attorney Ronald Fischetti from legal fees thathe had received from a client whom Fischetti had referred to him in amajorfees that he had received from a client whom Fischetti hadreferred to him in a majorBernard Kerik John Yannucci
 
state court prosecution.While technically not a crime, the practice – called fee-splitting – isprohibited and could lead to censure, suspension or even disbarment ifcharges are lodged with the grievance committee of the AppellateDivision of State Supreme Court. But not paying taxes
is
a crime, andsources say that was the focus of a federal grand jury investigation bythe Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office.Tacopinawould not respond to repeated requests for comment.Neither did his attorney, Michael Ross. Fischetti (right) told Gang Landthe allegations were “not true,” but declined further comment. Hisattorney, Robert Morvillo, declined to comment.“It’s an open secret that Tacopina threw Fischetti under the bus fouryears ago, and that’s a really big issue for wiseguys – and lots oflawyers too,” said a well-known member of the defense bar.No charges were ever filed against Fischetti, and sources say the probeended in 2009.While the allegations about Tacopina’s cooperation against Fischettihave long circulated on the criminal defense grapevine, they’ve neverbeen publicly aired before now. But that hasn't stopped some lawyersfrom choosing sides in the fracas.“I’ve had cases against Ron, and I just don’t buy it,” said one ex-prosecutor who, like all the attorneys and former prosecutors whospoke to Gang Land about this touchy issue, did so under a promise ofanonymity. “He’s been around forever, and has always been astraight-arrow,” he added.“What really irks me,” said one well-known attorney, “is that Ron was amentor to Joe, showing him the ropes. You know, one Italian-American from Brooklyn taking a younger
 paesano
under his wing,and then getting it in the neck. And I don’t believe (Ron) did it, either,”said the lawyer.One prominent attorney with insight about the probe asked Gang Landnot to identify Fischetti as the target of a grand jury investigation sincethe allegations were not substantiated. Twoweeks ago, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rebuffed a motion byGang Land to unseal court papers involving the allegations. Still, for ourmoney, the public has a right to know about investigations, no matterthe outcome, once they become part of an activecriminalcase, aswas the case here.Sources say Tacopina alleged the fee-splitting took place in 2004-2005,the same time-frame that Bronx prosecutors were looking intoallegations that Kerik received $165,000 in benefits from mobconnected contractors while he was police commissioner. In 2006,

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