Lawyer Who Sought to Defend Trump Dies Suddenly at 48

A high-profile New York lawyer who sought to represent President Donald Trump has died suddenly at just 48 years old, according to reports.

Attorney John Meringolo, a professor at Pace University, died “unexpectedly” on November 16, his family revealed.

Meringolo’s sudden death came just two months after requesting that he be allowed to represent the 45th president’s Trump Organization and Trump Payroll Corp. at the last minute.

In another case for the retrial of alleged “We Build the Wall” scammer Timothy Shea, Meringolo told the judge that he had been retained by the Trump family to defend its companies.

He said he secured the retainer after CFO Allen Weisselberg pleaded guilty in a deal that required him to testify in the case.

According to the New York Daily News, Meringolo wrote to Judge Analisa Torres on September 14, asking her to delay the Shea case three weeks.

“I have been retained to represent the Trump Payroll Corporation in its criminal trial scheduled to begin on the very same date as Mr. Shea’s retrial,” he wrote.

That request was denied.

On September 2, Meringolo had asked Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan to delay the trial against Trump companies and was also refused.

“That motion I received last week, or the notice of appearance, frankly, was almost bizarre, and it was dealt with appropriately,” Merchan said. “I’m repeating, we are not delaying this trial.”

Meringolo’s death was confirmed by his father, Richard Meringolo, who told the Daily News that it was unexpected.

“It’s horrifying,” Richard Meringolo told the Daily News.

“It’s a very sad day.”

John Meringolo had racked up numerous acquittals and mistrials on behalf of prominent clients, earning him a reputation for “besting federal prosecutors,” the Daily News said.

“His professional accomplishments are beyond compare, but that is not what defined John,” his obituary read.

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“John will always be remembered for the way he loved his family and friends and the generosity he extended to everyone he met.

“He frequently went out of his way to help total strangers, knowing that a single kind gesture can go a very long way.

“His greatest legacy will be his two sons, Charles and Anthony, whom he loved beyond measure.”

Meringolo was an adjunct professor at Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law, teaching a course on trial advocacy.

The school’s website listed some of his most significant litigation experience:

Mr. Meringolo negotiated a historical $10,000,000.00 settlement for the Estate of Joseph P. Graffagnino, a New York City firefighter, who died in the infamous Deutsche Bank Building fire. The building had been damaged during the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. The New York Daily News reported, “A document filed in court states that Meringolo will take 23% of the settlement, much less than the usual one-third cut.”

In United States v. Ofer Biton, Judge Nicholas Garaufis denied the Government’s direct appeal and affirmed the magistrate’s order granting bail to Mr. Biton, an Israeli national, after seven bail hearings.

In United States v. John Venizelos, Mr. Venizelos pled guilty in the Eastern District of New York to participating in a $1 billion international drug trafficking enterprise, which had been in existence for more than a decade.

In United States v Yesid Rios Suarez, Mr. Rios Suarez pled guilty in the Southern District of New York to participating in an international conspiracy to distribute cocaine from Colombia to Venezuela, Mexico, and the United States.

​In United States v. Armando Rea, Mr. Rea was charged in a RICO indictment with the murder of Gerard Papa, a notorious member of the Genovese Crime Family; conspiracy to murder; and extortion.  After extensive motion practice and defense investigation of the charges, the Government dropped the murder count.  Most importantly, after jury selection, the Government dropped the RICO charges against Mr. Rea, who then pled guilty to a single count of extortion and received a sentence of probation.

After three weeks of trial in People v. Dr. Richard Lucente, the Kings County District Attorney’s Office capitulated and dropped 151 C-Felony counts against Dr. Lucente, who subsequently pled guilty to a single count and received a non-incarceration sentence.

On December 1, 2009, the jury trial in United States, v John A. Gotti ended in a mistrial, which ended Mr. Gotti’s four-trial saga. In the fourth and final trial, Mr. Gotti, for the first time, was charged with two murders and faced life in prison. After the mistrial on the murder counts, the Government declined to bring these murder charges or any other charges against him.

Despite the fact that Meringolo was just 48 when he died suddenly, no cause of death has been reported.

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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