Bob Simels Indicted in Plot to "Eliminate" Witnesses
Bob is a well-known lawyer in New York, having represented some significant clients in his day. Though a bit on the arrogant side (and who isn't in this business) and not exactly a warm and fuzzy guy, he's smart and well-respected. That said, the report of his arrest is just shocking.
Represented by Gerry Shargel, who is one of the top players in the New York criminal defense bar, the allegations against Bob, based upon this affidavit in support of the arrest warrant, are ugly indeed.
At one point in the investigation, Mr. Simels was recorded telling the informant that “any witness you can eliminate is a good thing,” according to the complaint. Federal officials said that Mr. Simels told the informant that Mr. Khan would be willing to pay whatever was required to keep the witnesses from testifying.
Mr. Simels is said to have offered the home address and employer of one witness, a woman who he said was an important government witness because she was the only one who could tie “so-called drug ledgers” to his client.
“So, you would think that if she didn’t testify, refused to testify, that would be good,” Mr. Simels said, according to the complaint, and that if they could “eliminate” another witness: “Very good.”
During a meeting in June, Mr. Simels provided the informant with $1,000 and orders from Mr. Khan to do “whatever needs to be done,” according to the papers.
“Here’s a thousand dollars to get started,” Mr. Simels told the informant, according to federal officials. He then passed along a warning from Mr. Khan not to kill the mother of one witness.
“The government will go crazy,” Mr. Simels reputedly said.
Shargel, appropriately, responded that "“[i]t’s easy for prosecutors to make an accusation, but it’s quite another thing for them to prove it.” Of course, the government has tapes and emails, according to the affidavit.
Only a few days ago, I posted about the problem of lawyers getting too close to their clients, and doing things they never should do. If the allegations here are true, this is an entirely different story. While Bob's alleged use of the words "eliminate" and "neutralize" witnesses could mean what the government claims, it could also mean something entirely benign. We use the language of neutralizing testimony all the time, and we eliminate issues and witnesses from the mix to the extent possible to simplify the matters to be addressed. That these words could have other meanings to a fed (and what word doesn't) in no way impugns Bob's intent.
However, some of the other allegations, if true and provable, could be hard to explain. This really falls into the "shocking" column.