Best attorney who gets publicity while bungling the case (2008)

Eddie Hayes and Bruce Culter

It's a tie: Eddie Hayes and Bruce Culter, barristers for the so-called "Mafia cops" Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito. In June, two months after the former cops were convicted on racketeering charges connected to a slew of contract murders they reputedly carried out for the mob, the men filed a motion for a mistrial, not on the grounds that there was any prosecutorial hanky-panky or the evidence was lacking, but because their lawyers stank. The roly-poly Eppolito testified that by the time the trial started Cutler had all but stopped talking to him, refused to allow him to take the stand, and wouldn't even read the notes he passed during the trial. At one point, Eppolito testified, he was searching for Cutler to discuss the case, only to find his lawyer off at a diner giving an interview to a magazine. (The pair received a flood of press, including being featured twice in The New Yorker, once in a piece about a shopping trip to buy ties, the other about the trial that ended with the reporter and Cutler leaving Hayes asleep on a bench during a lunch break.) Not to be outdone in the "any publicity is good publicity" category, Hayes was nearly arrested for contempt of court—it seems he skipped the mistrial hearing to visit his mother in Miami. Upon discovering this, the judge ordered that a warrant be issued if Hayes didn't appear by 3:15 p.m. that day. The lawyer jumped on a plane and made it to court only slightly past deadline—wearing, according to one published report, "a pink polo shirt, a windowpane blazer, and a pair of teal socks." In the end the mouthpieces were so bad they were good. Not only did the judge dismiss the motion that Cutler and Hayes were incompetent, but he overturned the Mafia cops' convictions on a technicality, forcing the government to retry the case. For some reason, Eppolito and Caracappa are going with new lawyers.


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