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January 11, 2007
Attorney For War-Crimes Suspect Busted For Pimping

The case of PFC Corey Clagett took a bizarre turn yesterday when his attorney found himself under arrest for money laundering and running a prostitution ring out of a nightclub. The former federal prosecutor and Abu Ghraib defense attorney could face decades of prison time:

Paul Bergrin, who spent seven years as a New Jersey local and federal prosecutor, allegedly took over the NY Confidential escort service when the self-described "king of all pimps" Jason Itzler was arrested in 2005.

Mr. Bergrin helped launder more than $800,000 in credit card payments for "escorts" who often cost $1,000 an hour, the district attorney of Manhattan, Robert Morgenthau, said. ...

Prosecutors also said Mr. Bergrin falsely told New Jersey parole officers that Itzler — a former client on parole from a 2001 ecstasy-smuggling conviction — was a paralegal in the Abu Ghraib defense case so Itzler could receive a more lenient curfew. In fact, prosecutors allege, Itzler was helping to manage the brothel until late in the morning, not doing legal work.

Bergrin got arrested by New Jersey police and has apparently waived extradition, which will shorten the time for his arraignment. The arrest had to have occurred after Monday, when Bergrin appeared in court on Clagett's behalf.

Obviously, Clagett will need new representation, but it sounded as though his case would have a tough time regardless. Clagett now claims that the Army ordered him to shoot all military-age Iraqi men regardless of combatant status during a raid on an island in Salahuddin province. The "just following orders" defense has long been discredited as a mitigation towards war crimes, so Clagett might benefit from a new lawyer anyway.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 11, 2007 5:42 AM

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