Attorney John Meringolo, who represented “We Build the Wall” leader Tim Shea and recently asked the courts to represent Donald Trump, died suddenly last week.
New York City defense lawyer John Meringolo has died, according to his father. He recently represented Timothy Shea in the federal We Build the Wall fraud case.
— Molly Crane-Newman (@molcranenewman) November 17, 2022
Veteran NYC defense lawyer John Meringolo dies at 48.
Meringolo became a thorn in the side of federal prosecutors after winning streaks defending notorious clients in several prominent mafia, RICO, and large-scale narcotics cases.https://t.co/A0rN1XMB8h
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) November 17, 2022
Meringolo, a long-time Manhattan defense attorney, earned a reputation for besting federal prosecutors in high-profile cases.
From the New York Daily News:
The veteran litigator’s father, Richard Meringolo, confirmed his death to the Daily News. His cause of death was not immediately apparent, though his father said it was unexpected. Meringolo is survived by his twin 1-year-old sons, his wife, and his parents.
“It’s horrifying,” his heartbroken father said. “It’s a very sad day.”
Meringolo became a thorn in the side of federal prosecutors after winning streaks defending notorious clients in several prominent mafia, RICO, and large-scale narcotics cases.
In 2018, he scored a mistrial in the racketeering case of Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino, the reputed head of the Philadelphia crime family.
He convinced a Manhattan jury to acquit former NYPD deputy inspector James “Jimmy” Grant of charges alleging he took bribes from corrupt Brooklyn businessman Jeremy Reichberg in January 2019.
A couple months later, he scored an acquittal for John “Porky” Zancocchio, the alleged lieutenant of the reputed head of the Bonanno crime family. Meringolo argued his client was a victim of ethnic profiling by the NYPD based on his Italian heritage.
He notched another win in the form of a mistrial earlier this year of Steve Bannon associate Timothy Shea in the federal “We Build the Wall” crowdfunding case. He also represented Shea at his second trial, which ended in a conviction last month.
Meringolo requested to represent the Trump team in another lawsuit coming from the state.
However, the judge declined to make adjustments that would enable him to do so.
The New York Daily News noted:
A Manhattan lawyer is trying to move heaven and earth to represent a pair of conflicting cases going to trial the same day — one against a Colorado businessman accused of stealing from Trump supporters, the other against a Trump company for stealing from New York’s taxpayers.
Attorney John Meringolo is scheduled to go to federal court with Timothy Shea in the We Build the Wall crowdfunding scam case against him on Oct. 24.
Shea is charged with pocketing donations from supporters of Trump’s signature immigration policy to build a wall on the southern border. His case ended in a mistrial on June 7, after a holdout juror refused to convict, alleging a government “witch hunt.”
The same day Shea’s retrial starts, the Trump Organization and Trump Payroll Corp. are slated to go on trial across the street in Manhattan Supreme Court on tax fraud charges. In that case, prosecutors say the company engaged in a 15-year tax evasion scheme that hid millions in taxable income from authorities.
Meringolo said lawyers for Trump’s family real estate business asked him to help defend the case following the recent guilty plea of chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg. The company’s veteran bookkeeper has agreed to testify against his former employer for less prison time.
In a flurry of correspondence filed over the past two weeks, Meringolo has tried to bend the courts’ schedules so he can represent both cases — telling the presiding judges he’s the best man for the job.
On Sept. 2, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, presiding over the Trump Organization case, told Meringolo that the answer was no. The judge cited the lawyer’s conflicting schedule and described his eleventh-hour arrival to the case at a Monday hearing as “bizarre.”