Decided on March 13, 2012
Appellate Division, First Department
Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.
This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.
Luis A. Gonzalez,Presiding Justice, Richard T. Andrias David B. Saxe Rolando T. Acosta Nelson S. Roman,Justices.
Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Robert M. Simels, was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York at a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the Second Judicial Department on February 26, 1975. Jorge Dopico, Chief Counsel, Departmental Disciplinary Committee, New York (Raymond Vallejo, of counsel), for petitioner. No appearance for respondent. M-1746 (May 11, 2011)
IN THE MATTER OF ROBERT M. SIMELS, AN ATTORNEY
Respondent Robert Matteson Simels was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the Second Judicial Department on February 26, 1975. At all times relevant to this proceeding, respondent maintained an office for the practice of law within the First Judicial Department.
In June 2006, respondent, a criminal defense attorney, was retained by Shaheed "Roger" Khan (Khan) to represent him in a criminal prosecution. The United States alleged that Khan was operating an enterprise which imported large quantities of cocaine into the United States from Guyana. In the course of respondent's representation of Khan, federal agents began investigating respondent, his then law associate [FN1], and Khan for conspiring to influence potential witnesses in Khan's upcoming trial.
On July 10, 2009, by superseding indictment, respondent was charged in a 13-count indictment in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Specifically, respondent was charged with one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice in violation of 18 USC §§ 1512(b)(1) and (b)(2)(A); eight counts of attempt to obstruct justice in violation of 18 USC §§ 1512(b)(1) and (b)(2)(A); one count of bribery of in violation of 18 USC § 201(c)(2); one count of making a false statement in violation of 18 USC § 1001(a)(2); and one count each of importation and possession of eavesdropping equipment in violation of 18 USC § 2512(1)(a) and (b).
On August 20, 2009, following a jury trial, where the evidence demonstrated that respondent sought to use Khan's Guyana-based criminal organization to identify, locate, and tamper with potential witnesses in Khan's criminal trial, respondent was convicted of all counts in the superceding indictment, except count 11, which charged respondent with making a false statement. On December 4, 2009, respondent was sentenced, inter alia, to a prison term of 14 years followed by three years of supervised release.
On October 22, 2010, following and based on his conviction, respondent was disbarred by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. On November 9, 2010, based on respondent's disbarrment by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, he was reciprocally disbarred by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On August 12, 2011, with the exception of respondent's conviction ...