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Lawyer Morvillo, Martha Stewart defender, dies

/ Source: Reuters

Lawyer Robert Morvillo, who led the courtroom battle of media celebrity Martha Stewart and other high-profile white-collar criminal defendants, has died at the age of 73, according to a notice on his firm's website on Sunday.

Morvillo was regarded as one of New York's savviest criminal-defense attorneys, a master of establishing a kind of just us-folks rapport with jurors.

The website statement did not specify the cause of death.

Stewart may have been his best-known client. In 2004, despite Morvillo's efforts, she was convicted of lying to investigators about a sale of ImClone Systems shares and served five months in a West Virginia federal prison. ImClone is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Co.

Other prominent clients included John Zaccaro, husband of the late politician Geraldine Ferraro, who in 1984 became the first woman to run on a major party national ticket for vice president. Zaccaro, a real estate developer, was acquitted of felony bribery charges in 1987 with Morvillo defending him.

Morvillo was an editor of White Collar Crime: Business and Regulatory Offenses and a co-author of the "White-Collar Crime" in the New York Law Journal. He was a founding partner in 1973 of a predecessor to the firm Morvillo, Abramowitz, Grand, Iason, Anello & Bohrer, P.C., where he was principal partner until his death.