Lawyer Robert Simels, whose shady dealings with his underworld clients were explored by David Shaftel in a June Voice article
, was today found guilty of witness tampering and other charges
. In the Voice
author Nicholas Pileggi describes Simels as someone who "goes [to trial] with his smirk and his expensive clothes and likes to piss off guys who make $80,000 a year." In pursuit of this frisson, Shaftel reports, Simels was found by prosecutors to have discussed tactics "from offering [witnesses] money to murdering their family members." The government collected tapes of Shaftel offering to "neutralize" persons who might endanger the case of Guyanese drug-runner Roger Khan, whom he represented. Simels insisted this was merely a figure of speech
. He may receive life in prison.