High-Profile Attorney Under Federal Investigation in Connection with Pharaoh’s Gentlemen’s Club Case

In a significant development, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Vilardo has ordered separate trials for Peter Gerace Jr., the owner of Pharaoh’s Gentlemen’s Club, and retired Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Joseph Bongiovanni. The move comes as federal prosecutors are investigating attorney Steven M. Cohen, referred to as “Gerace Attorney 1” in the case, in connection with a conspiracy linked to the death of former Pharaoh’s dancer Crystal Quinn, a crucial witness against Gerace.

The indictment, made public on Tuesday, explicitly names Cohen as a subject of the investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. It alleges his involvement in a conspiracy to prevent Crystal Quinn from testifying against Pharaoh’s owner Peter Gerace Jr., whom Cohen represented. While no criminal charges have been filed against Cohen, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has refrained from commenting on the ongoing investigation.

Crystal Quinn, slated to testify against Gerace, was found dead on August 1, 2023. Prosecutors suspect foul play, believing her death was staged to resemble an accidental overdose or suicide. The grand jury alleges that Cohen, identified as Gerace Attorney 1, played a role in the conspiracy to prevent Quinn from becoming a government witness.

The indictment does not directly accuse Cohen of causing Quinn’s death or having prior knowledge of her impending demise. It focuses on the broader conspiracy involving Quinn’s death to obstruct justice and prevent her testimony.

Peter Gerace Jr. faces multiple felony charges, including drug trafficking, sex trafficking, bribing a federal drug agent, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice. The indictment reveals details of a conspiracy involving Quinn’s death orchestrated by individuals associated with the Outlaws and Rare Breed motorcycle clubs.

According to prosecutors, the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, of which Gerace is the president, has a motto that emphasizes intimidation and harm towards those perceived as threats. The indictment quotes Gerace making chilling statements about potential witnesses against him.

While Cohen’s name is absent from the indictment against Gerace, it quotes Gerace Attorney 1 making statements in court similar to those observed from Cohen. The indictment contends that Cohen, even after being restricted from disclosing witness identities to Gerace, found a way to discuss Quinn’s potential testimony with the Pharaoh’s owner.

Despite heated arguments and conflicts with lead prosecutor Joseph M. Tripi, Cohen continues to represent Gerace in other legal matters. Tripi, known for his courtroom tactics, has also targeted another attorney for Gerace, Eric Soehnlein.

The unfolding legal drama involves a web of conspiracy, witness tampering, and alleged criminal activities within the context of Pharaoh’s Gentlemen’s Club. As investigations continue, the legal community in Buffalo closely watches the case, contemplating its potential impact on ethical standards and attorney-client relationships.

Amherst Police Detective Faces Charges for False Statements to FBI Regarding Strip Club Owner Gerace

A detective from the Amherst Police Department is now charged with making false statements to FBI agents regarding his interactions with Peter Gerace Jr., the owner of a Cheektowaga strip club facing charges of bribery, sex trafficking, and drug trafficking.

Before attorney Steven M. Cohen withdrew from the case, he engaged in heated courtroom disputes with lead prosecutor Joseph M. Tripi. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo intervened, ordering both attorneys to lower their voices and tone down their rhetoric to maintain decorum.

Cohen, a seasoned attorney with over 30 years of experience, has been a prominent figure in Western New York’s legal landscape. Known for championing unpopular causes and confronting opposing counsel, Cohen has handled high-profile cases, including representing Lynn DeJac Peters, Amanda Wienckowski’s family, and successfully defending Customs and Border Protection officer Robert Rhodes in a 2004 international incident.

The attorney has faced recent challenges related to the Pharaoh’s Gentlemen’s Club case, representing owner Peter Gerace Jr. Cohen accused Tripi and federal agents of pressuring witness Crystal Quinn, who later died under suspicious circumstances, into “lying in court” about Gerace.

Cohen remains Gerace’s legal counsel in various matters, including a libel lawsuit against Gerace’s ex-wife, Katrina Nigro, expected to testify in the Pharaoh’s case.

The legal community in Buffalo closely monitors the unfolding events, as Cohen’s actions and the ongoing case raise questions about ethical standards, attorney-client relationships, and the dynamics within the courtroom.

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