The New York Appellate Division, First Department, granted the State's Disciplinary Committee's petition to disbar defense attorney Robert M. Simels. Simels started as a prosecutor, but later became a defense attorney, had represented notorious clients, including drug kingpins and mob informant Henry Hill (On whom the movie Goodfellas was based off of). Simels has "developed a reputation as a dogged advocate for his clients and a meticulously prepared trial lawyer. He also found himself in much-publicized ethical scrapes and was barred from at least one courtroom by a judge" reported the New York Times.
Simels was convicted on 12 out of 13 counts, which included conspiracy, bribery, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering, in 2009. Arienne Irving, an associate in Simels' firm, was also convicted in the case, but U.S. District Judge Gleeson set aside the Irving's conviction. Simels was convicted after being caught on tape stating that there was a need to "eliminate" or "neutralize" witnesses who were going to testify against his client who was a suspected drug kingpin. He was sentenced to 14 years and fined $225,000. A federal appeals court affirmed 10 of his 12 convictions.