LAWYERS GUNS & MONEY
THE LEGENDARY LIFE & TIMES OF TRIAL LAWYER JIMMY LAROSSA & SON
Based on the original teleplay and on the book,
Last of the Gladiators, A Son’s Memoir of Love, Redemption and the Mob
By James M. LaRossa Jr.
IN THE BEGINNING — ESTABLISHING THE STORY SHORT SYNOPSIS
LAWYERS GUNS & MONEY is a true historical drama about organized crime, politics, law, personal redemption, and indomitable spirit — that could only be told by the two protagonists who rode the storm and lived to tell it: Trial lawyer JIMMY LAROSSA (JIMMY) and his eldest son, JIMMY JR. (JR).
At the heart of this series is an irreverent father/son relationship that develops over the course of 50-years and culminates in Southern California—when his father, at the end of his life, reveals to his son a generation of New York’s brashest crimes and most eccentric characters. JR was absorbed into his father’s world of lawyers, guns and money at an early age, and as the years went on, they became intimate confidantes and co-conspirators.
As the trial lawyer of last resort for four decades in the most connected city in the world, JIMMY knew the inner workings of every major mob family. He held the secrets of numerous politicians, judges and political bosses. He knew the identities of Israeli Mossed and Columbian drug kingpins that walked around town like regular citizens. He was even aware of the identities of the money launderers who had infiltrated the highest order of New York’s Orthodox Jewry.
When JIMMY winds up on a ventilator at The New York Presbyterian Hospital, the resourceful adult son is the one and only person who can save his father.
LAWYERS GUNS & MONEY begins at this pivotal moment.
JAMES M. LAROSSA ESQ., the most important trial lawyer of his generation, lay dying in The New York Presbyterian Hospital after collapsing in federal court moments before he was to deliver his opening remarks to a packed courtroom on behalf of a billionaire New York builder swept up in a life-ending RICO indictment that he would not survive without JIMMY’s significant expertise.
Ensconced in the ultra-secure wing of the Greenberg Pavilion for 10 days in a state of semi-consciousness, JIMMY is secured from a myriad of dangers by his son and life-long confidante, JR. As teams of lawyers and the psychotic billionaire client himself attempt to crash JIMMY’s room, JR asks some of his father’s former clients to help keep him secure and alive.
While a host of colorful mobsters batten down the hospital, JR decides to play the best card he has: A daring, stealth escape via Medevac Gulfstream to an undisclosed location. JR has outfitted the house with high security. A master bedroom suite has been converted to a full medical wing after JR determined that a ‘kidnapping’ was his father’s best and only real chance to survive.
JIMMY’s high-flying 40-year career had taken its toll on his body. His pulmonary system is shot, he has little strength in his legs, and his blood work is showing the preliminary signs of cancer somewhere in his gut. He had been rushed to the hospital twice before this latest episode. Nevertheless, JIMMY remains an unstoppable force of nature. His famed baritone voice, fast wit, uncanny ability to digest large quantities of Kettle One vodka and good humor is, amazingly, all
With the assistance of one of the hospital’s most prominent physicians, the legendary trial lawyer is somehow snuck through the giant hospital labyrinth to a waiting private ambulance, which plods unassumingly through the early November morning to a private hangar at Teterboro Airport. After a dramatic signing of legal papers at Teterboro, the duo are airborne. The story, however, is just beginning.
Who would pursue them was uncertain, but that they would one day come was a near certainty? Once word leaked that JIMMY had vanished, the Levin case would collapse into chaos and hundreds of people who owed JIMMY their lives could conclude that the confidences JIMMY protected in his encyclopedic mind might be in jeopardy.
JIMMY interacted with the inner workings of every major mob family for three decades. He held the secrets of numerous politicians, judges and political bosses. He knew the identities of Israeli Mossed and Columbian drug kingpins that walked around town like regular citizens. He was even aware of the identities of the money launderers who had infiltrated the highest order of New York’s Orthodox Jewry. When JIMMY disappeared from the face of the earth, questions would be asked. JR’s plan would have to work flawlessly.
In a story echoing mob patriarch Carlo Gambino, Joe Gallo, and Bob Dylan, a real- time accounting between father and son unfold. These scenes include the most notorious crimes of a generation set under the backdrop of historical events such as the 1974 Ali-Frazier fight at Madison Square Garden and Richard Nixon’s resignation later the same year.
FIRST OF HIS KIND
By all accounts, Jimmy LaRossa may be the most famous lawyer you’ve never heard of. For the thirty-plus years in which he was in his prime, Jimmy was always in the middle of a great maelstrom of lawyers, guns, and money, smiling that enormous, knowing smile of his and taking no prisoners.
Before he became a criminal defense lawyer, Jimmy was Robert Kennedy’s shotgun man in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York’s Eastern District. As a former prosecutor and Marine Corps officer, he had learned to speak truth to power. More accurately, perhaps, as a born and bred New Yorker who received a thoroughly Jesuit education, he was a natural prodigy in the ways of outsmarting power. Knowing the ways of all these worlds later made him a new, revolutionary kind of defense lawyer who dramatically changed and improved the methods of the defense bar.
Law professor Lawrence S. Goldman summarized Dad’s life succinctly: “Jimmy LaRossa was ‘the last of the gladiators.’ He was one of the last of a dying breed of old-fashioned criminal trial lawyers who tried big case after big case, often with little time for preparation. For him, cooperators were snitches and cooperation akin to treason. He was an extremely talented lawyer, with great courtroom presence and a lightning quick mind. He was probably the best cross-examiner I have ever seen in a courtroom. He was [among] the last of a generation of courtroom gladiators who were combative, never brought their clients to the prosecutor’s office to make a plea proffer and fought the government at every turn.”
““In a career that included defending hundreds of white-collar criminals and establishing an important precedent of criminal law in the United States Supreme Court, Mr. LaRossa’s best-known cases involved Mafia chiefs. He represented Paul Castellano, boss of the Gambino crime family, after Mr. Castellano was indicted in 1985 with other heads of Mafia families charged with taking part in a so-called commission that ran organized crime in New York. Mr. LaRossa met with Mr. Castellano on Dec. 16, 1985, shortly before he and an associate were murdered near the entrance of Sparks Steak House in Midtown Manhattan.” — From The New York Times
INTERSECTIONS — SELECTED TRUE EVENTS
The Mob, Politicians, Orthodox Jews, The Political Bosses, Rao’s, Columbia, The Shipping Magnate, The Supreme Court, Nicky Barnes, Assorted Eccentric Clients, Sports Stars, The Pierre Hotel Robbery, The Judges, and The Israeli General
Jimmy’s professional resumé read like a roadmap to the most brash crimes and “eccentric” clients of a generation. Many of his clients were as colorful as the actual trials themselves.
At the time, the Gambino crime family was the most powerful in the world, bar none. So, it wasn’t long before the elderly boss of bosses, Carlo Gambino himself and the young lawyer sat face-to-face.
The family patriarch recognized very early that JIMMY was far from the average criminal lawyer. Just a few years out of the Kennedy Justice Department, JIMMY had engineered a number of deft acquittals for his Nephew and heir apparent, Paul Castellano.
Soon thereafter, Carlo Gambino died a natural death. Paul Castellano owed the next 20-years as the most powerful crime figure in the world to the considerable skills of his lawyer, Jimmy LaRossa.
The only time a “made man” was let out of the Mafia by the head of a crime Madison Avenue. S.A. was a prominent labor leader and Gambino Captain. JIMMY had tried the case of the labor leader who desperately wanted a “second act” to be a restaurateur with his wife and children. JIMMY, Castellano, and S.A. spent an hour alone in the conference room and S.A. walked out a free man.
Paul Castellano and Tommy Bilotti are killed in front of Sparks Steakhouse after leaving JIMMY’s office by elements of the family loyal to John Gotti — an up-and- coming Gambino Captain, who had been marked as a rogue soldier by
Castellano. Gotti had attended the Castellano trial the week before only to see JIMMY crucify the main witness. There was intense speculation that Paul was going to walk and deny the warring Gotti his rightful place at the head of the family — or even worse.
By May of 1987, Gotti is about to be indicted for the Castellano murder and has asked JIMMY to represent him. Even though JIMMY has back-to-back cases lined up, he won’t take Gotti’s case out of sheer principle. After all, had JIMMY gone to Sparks’ with Castellano and Bilotti that night, would they have called off the hit, or would they have killed JIMMY as well?
While Gotti ultimately died in the maximum-security Marion Prison, JIMMY lead a major Columbo Family trial which resulted in acquittals for all eight defendants two days before Christmas, 1991. Thus, the Gambino reign ended and the Columbo’s took over. For all intents and purposes, the five major crime families had been crushed by the time JIMMY fell ill.
There were three places you could always find JIMMY. When the Knicks were in season, you could find him at the bar of the Penn Plaza Club just steps off the court at Madison Square Garden for the first half before he went to his seats for the second half. But on Wednesday nights, he was front and center at Rao’s—a small restaurant on a protected block of East Harlem that didn’t have a telephone and who’s clientele, in the day, were made men. When Joe Watts, the notorious assassin came to JIMMY for representation, he would only take the case if Joe threw in his Wednesday table at Rao’s. In those days your table was a fortress and no one other than you would dare to sit there.
JIMMY would still occasionally send his driver, Neil up to secure his table. It was on just such a night when JIMMY found a tough group of Armenians at his table. Frankie Jr., who ran Rao’s for many years was too scared of the Armenians to toss them, so JIMMY went somewhere else. When he arrived at his office the next day, his longtime secy had a message “through channels” that some people were in a world of trouble and were coming in to see him. A few hours later, who walks in but the four beefy Armenians from Rao’s. They sit in the imposing office having no idea why the man in the midnight blue Brioni suit is smiling. JIMMY lets them go through the whole sordid tale without saying a word. When they are sweaty and done, JIMMY says, “I won’t take the case.” One asks, incredulously, “we’ll pay Mr. LAROSSA. What’s your price?” JIMMY gets up, walks around the table, stands in front of the Armenians. “You shouldn’t have taken my table at Rao’s last night. You’re on your own.”
The Orthodox Alliance
The most powerful Rebe in America (often referred to as the ‘Jewish Pope’), Rebbe Menachem Schneerson, retained JIMMY to defend him from a govern- ment accusation of money laundering, beginning a lifetime relationship with the secretive and powerful Orthodox.
An Orthodox jewel merchant with ties to Rebbe Schneerson, was taking $25 million in diamonds from Miami to Toronto. He had the necessary legal and customs paperwork to bring them into Canada. When a Toronto blizzard forced the jet to land at JFK, however, the merchant was immediately arrested, taken to the Tombs, a municipal jail in Lower Manhattan, and had his diamonds confiscated.
The jewel merchant languished in anonymity in the Tombs until someone notified Jimmy about what had happened. Jimmy called the U.S. Attorney and told him if he didn’t meet him at the Federal courthouse at Foley Square within the hour, he was going to call the press and have thousands of orthodox Jews camped out in downtown Manhattan. JIMMY’s passionate skewering of what transpired at JFK infuriated the judge, who threatened to throw the U.S. Attorney in the Tombs.
Later in the day, the jeweler arrived safely in Toronto with his jewels in tow, a little worse for the wear and tear.
One winter, before he fell ill, JIMMY was visiting JR in Manhattan Beach when he received a call from a very influential Rebe, who had tracked JIMMY down and was flying to L.A. to meet with him. Before leaving New York, JIMMY had refused the criminal case of a very eccentric billionaire that JIMMY didn’t want to represent. Somehow, the billionaire was connected. Not wanting to insult the Rebe, JIMMY met him at The Shutters Hotel in SM. The hotel stopped dead as JIMMY and the man in long black robes embraced. The two men traded niceties. Before JIMMY could utter a word, the Rebe pulled a check out of his pocket from the client to JIMMY. The sum was an even $1 million dollars. “Will this at least get you back to New York to talk to him? It’s yours.” Then JIMMY insulted the Buffalo Bills and the Rebe matched his remark with an insult against the New York Giants. His son watched them, somehow knowing he was witnessing an ancient Jewish ritual for “yes, I’ll take your money.” His Son laughed as he drove his Father, king of the Jews, back to the beach.
The Bypass Gang: The Pierre Hotel Robbery
The Pierre Hotel robbery was a $27 million (worth $ 266 million today) hotel robbery in early 1972, by Samuel Nalo and Robert Comfort, an associate of the Lucchese Crime Family, Christie ‘the Tic’ Furnari, and carried out by several of his Bypass Gang burglars. This robbery would later be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest, most successful hotel robbery in history. The gang arrived at the Pierre Hotel at 3:50 a.m. on January 2, 1972. The date of the robbery was perfect. Most of the hotel’s guests were soundly sleeping off their escapades from the previous New Year’s Eve extravaganzas, which they had attended wearing their finest jewels. The jewels were kept in safety deposit boxes downstairs until more secure bank vaults re-opened at 9:00 that morning. Also, because of the holiday, the hotel had only a skeleton crew, including guards. The entire robbery took two and a half hours. Within that time the gang were able to break into close to one quarter of the 208 lock boxes in the vault. At 6:15 am, before departing Comfort gave a $20 bill to each hotel employee that they had detained, except for the security guards, and they all left at 6:30, just ahead of the hotel’s incoming 7:00 a.m. shift.
Pepe Cabrera & Columbia
For many years, a vicious Colombian named Pepe Cabrera, who had a special affection for Jimmy, ran the biggest drug cartel in Colombia. He built an impenetrable mountain retreat with a very short runway that only one kind of Falcon jet could land on or take off from. To transport the loads, he hired only Vietnam-era pilots. The deal was they had to make three drops in the U.S. After the third drop, the pilot owned the plane and could start a new life wherever he wanted. Pepe never wanted to see them again.
Pepe also dealt in emeralds. One day, a jeweler in the Bronx got on the wrong side of Pepe and his men killed him in broad daylight. After a short trial in state court ended in acquittal, Pepe threw Jimmy a big party and disappeared.
Months later, Pepe asked Dad to be the best man at his wedding at his Colombian retreat. When Jimmy got there, he discovered that the wedding was a sham. The priest was an actor. The bride, a young, strict Catholic, insisted on this formality.
For Pepe’s ruse, hundreds of people were present. Jimmy declined to be the best man because of the obvious ethical concerns, so Pepe quickly found an actor who looked like Jimmy. Problem solved.
Pepe returned to NYC and again allegedly killed someone. He was also indicted by the Feds for racketeering. The state trial came first, and Jimmy somehow quashed the indictment before a jury was seated. Before the Feds could transfer Pepe from custody for the Federal trial, he was mistaken for another prisoner and, to great fanfare in the New York tabloids was accidentally released He disappeared and Jimmy never saw him again.
JIMMY’s use of investigators was a game changer that influenced many trials. The notoriously paranoid Ross Perot retained JIMMY to spy on his own employ- ees and present a neatly constructed case against them to Texas prosecutors.
The Greek Shipping Magnate
Jimmy accepted one and only one divorce case during his career, “to have a little fun.” A Greek shipping magnate, with secretive real estate holdings and sham corporations all over New York, finally went too far by having a baby with a young woman. His beautiful middle-aged wife filed for divorce. Jimmy uncovered all of the husband’s illegal activities and packaged them within a simple motion he drafted but didn’t file. With the threat of being exposed, losing millions, and perhaps going to jail, the Greek magnate capitulated, giving his wife everything she wanted. The magnate tried to retain Jimmy for himself following the divorce but Dad refused. The heiress credited Jimmy with saving her life and they remained friends for many years.
After decades of representing the last, great Tammany Hall Democratic leader in New York, Meade Esposito, from legal charges, JIMMY and Meade became like father and son. Twice a year, Meade would interview prospective state judges and decide whether they should be appointed to the bench. He always asked JIMMY to sit with him. After years of this, half the sitting state supreme court judges thought they owed their careers to JIMMY.
Giglio V. US
JIMMY tried the Giglio v. United States in the early 70s he was just 39-years old), winning a unanimous decision. To this day, Giglio is the most important case involving prosecutorial misconduct. Coincidentally, on the day the Supreme Court called to notify JIMMY that they had granted Cert and would hear Giglio, he was trying a case in front of the very same Federal judge that decided against Giglio.
“Mr. La Rossa,” the judge said somberly, stopping the proceedings. “You have a call from the Supreme Court in my chambers.”
JIMMY went into chambers with the judge and picked up the phone.
The SCOTUS clerk: “I am pleased to inform you that cert has been granted on Giglio.”
JIMMY cupped the phone, turned to the wide-eyed judge who was about to be reversed by the US Supreme Court. “Hey, Judge, I think this may be for you.”
The NY Jets first round draft pick was a linebacker named Woods.
Before going to training camp, he accepted some 1st class airline tickets from “friends” to attend the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. The tickets were forged and Woods was arrested the week of opening day. JIMMY secured the linebackers release and delayed the trial until the season was over, at which point the Jets traded Woods.
In a deposition in representation of Former Mets first basemen, Keith Hernandez, JIMMY was especially aggressive in deposing a big, beefy wannabe gangster, who had managed to fake millions of dollars in Hernandez merchandise and memorabilia. Before the deposition was over, the proceedings had to be stopped numerous times because the witness was hyperventilating. Hernandez turned to JIMMY’s son (a young law student at the time) and said, “jeez, your old man must have been hell to grow up with.”
In the 1970s and ’80s, the Meadowlands (home to the New York Jets and Giants) had a racetrack featuring “trotters.” Jockeys rode on little carts, or sulkies, behind the horse. The sport attracted heavy gambling and was constantly being investigated. Finally, in an effort to close the track down, the Feds indicted the most successful trotter jockey.
Some criminal trials center on the law; others are mostly about the fact patterns. Because he always meticulously prepared for trial, Jimmy became an expert in trotter racing, casting so much reason- able doubt on the variations of the sulkies, strides of the horses, track conditions, etc., that in complete confusion and fury at this seeming gratuitous prosecution the jury acquitted the jockey weeks
Before Rudy Giuliani burst on the scene as NYs Super-Prosecutor, a Special Prosecutor, Maurice Nadjari, was appointed by the mayor to root out crime. He was an especially vicious bastard who indicted anyone who looked at him the wrong way, especially other lawyers. JIMMY defended the first six major Nadjari indictments. To even his surprise, he won each and every trial. The press turned against Nadjari. The special prosecutor was last seen practicing law out of a shingled house in Long Island.
There are two elected Surrogate Judges in New York City, who decide every issue involving Wills and Estates in the entire City. More money runs through these courts than any other in the nation. For a generation, Eve Preminger and Marie Lambert were those two Surrogates. Eve Preminger’s husband was a negligence lawyer by the name of Ted Friedman. He was indicted by NY’s Corp. Counsel after winning huge settlements from the City via questionable techniques. It was a long, technical trial and ended in JIMMY’s orchestration of a not guilty verdict. Before the Friedman trial, Marie Lambert was the subject of a probe encouraged by some big white shoe law firms who didn’t like Lambert’s gruff treatment of them. When JIMMY exposed the root of the probe and leaked it to The New York Times, the probe was suddenly dropped. JIMMY’s practice was not in Surrogate’s Court, but he liked to walk in unannounced in the middle of a big trial. Invariably, Eve Preminger or Marie Lambert would suspend court and jump into JIMMY’s arms while the white shoe lawyers watched and seethed.
Judge Eugene Nickerson
Scion of the White Shoe Wasp New York law firms, the legendary U.S. Federal District Judge Eugene (Gene) Nickerson (b. 1918) had a soft spot for the rough and tumble JIMMY La Rossa after JIMMY orchestrated a number of improbable high-profile mob-related acquittals in his courtroom. After one particularly outrageous not guilty verdict, JIMMY was shocked to get to his waiting limo and find Gene Nickerson in the flesh sitting in the back seat. “JIMMY,” the senior judge started, “why can’t you defend nice people? You are too good a lawyer to deal with the likes of your clients,” he pleaded. JIMMY thought long and hard about whether to give the judge the standard “constitutional right to counsel” argument — then thought better of it. If anyone deserved the truth, it was Gene Nickerson. “Thank you, Gene, but the truth is I love beating those motherfuckers. That’s what I love to do. True, I don’t like some of my clients, but in my own way, I can sometimes equalize the government’s enormous influence.” Judge Nickerson listened politely. “I just had to try.” They shook hands and parted as friends.
The last real New York drug cartel was run by the ruthless Nicky Barnes, who was found guilty and sentenced to life without parole after a massive government operation. Fearing an imminent indictment, Barnes’ lieutenants showed up in JIMMY’s office for representation. At the first of three meetings, JIMMY told him he didn’t want the case under any circumstances. After insisting another face- to- face, the men asked JIMMY flat out how much money he wanted to take the case? He thought ‘if I make up a number, they’ll go away.’ So, he quadrupled his highest trial fee and they left. The next day, they returned with two briefcases stuffed with cash. JIMMY looked up and said, “All I can tell you, gentlemen, is that you will get the best defense humanly possible.”
The Israeli General
When an Israeli general and war hero was indicted by the U.S. Attorney in Boston, he turned to JIMMY. The General owned a medical device company that supplied cardiovascular stints to a large company in Massachusetts named Boston Scientific. Apparently, these stints contributed to numerous deaths because of a special coating which the FDA ruled was a violation. When JIMMY went to Jerusalem to visit the General, he quickly tired of the food. The General made a call to clear airspace between Israel and Jordon and they flew to a small town in Jordan known for a good Italian restaurant. When they got there, the General was crestfallen as the restaurant was closed. JIMMY banged on the door and con- vinced the owner that he had come all the way from NYC. The man woke his wife, set up a table and they ate for hours. Within a year, JIMMY convinced the U.S.
Attorney in Boston that the coating was done to specs provided by Boston Scientific. In lieu of a criminal indictment, BS paid a huge fine and the General never spent a day in court.
The Saudi’s and BCCI
In the 1980s, in an effort to expand their influence, the Royal Saudi’s started a worldwide bank that was quickly enveloped in criminal probes and indictments. This became known as the BCCI Scandal. The Saudi’s hired every major law firm in the U.S. At one time, there were more American lawyers in Riyadh than camels.
JIMMY would try the New York portion of the case with one proviso. He wouldn’t meet the Saudi’s in the Middle East. He would take the case if and only if he could meet and prepare at The Ritz Hotel in Paris. For the better part of three years, JIMMY flew the concord to Paris and the Saudi’s reluctantly met him there.
Arden Perrin was a very proper Brit who owned distilleries that made Gilbey’s Gin, among other spirits. JIMMY would fly the Concord to see Perrin, who was not allowed in the U.S. for some past misdeed. JIMMY would be picked up by a driver and a physician upon arrival in London. The doc hooked JIMMY up to electrodes of some sort that would “refresh” JIMMY so he didn’t need to sleep. (Perrin was also having some of his organs transplanted in Switzerland with sheep’s organs.) After working with Perrin, he would be taken back to the
Concord to return to NYC. This went on for some time until the novelty wore off and JIMMY refused the London visits. For years thereafter, Perrin just showed up wherever JIMMY happened to be. Once, when the whole family was on the beach in the Bahamas, (we) saw in the distance a man in a 3-piece suit walking up the beach. JIMMY rolled his eyes and they went somewhere to talk. Perrin showed up like a ghost to have a few moments with JIMMY in the French West Indies, in Paris and in Jerusalem. The last time JIMMY saw Perrin, he was sitting on a park bench outside of the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn. According to JIMMY’s driver, Neil, they spoke for 10-mins., Perrin got up, walked away, and was never seen again.
The Dopey Brothers
While Arden Perrin may have been certifiably crazy, two wealthy brothers proved to be stupid crazy. After the brothers had beaten a man to death with pipes, JIMMY’s back-to-back trials resulted in hung juries. Unable to weather a third trial, the prosecutors offered the brothers very generous six-month sentences each, which they initially accepted with glee. But the brothers were not just stu- pid, greedy, sociopaths. After convincing themselves they somehow got a bum deal, they were stupid enough to threaten JIMMY AND his family. Few people ever had the pleasure to be thrown in a trunk and whisked to Paul Castellano’s Todd Hill Mansion and live to tell the tale. Suffice it to say, after a profound apology to JIMMY, the brothers gladly did their time.
One of the most memorable summations his son ever witnessed (and one of his last) was on behalf of the French conglomerate Vivendi in a civil suit brought by some noted rappers from the days prior to Vivendi’s purchase of the Def Jam label. Apparently, While the jailed musician, Ja Rule was incarcerated, Vivendi’s business practices were less than sterling. In a courtroom packed by lawyers and French executives who had come to watch JIMMY make his two hour summation, he slogged through the argument, belting out names like Shaddy/Aftermath, Jay- Z, Irv Gotti, G-Unit, and Ja Rule, while his son bit his lip trying not to laugh. At one point, he transposed names and was corrected by the opposing counsel.
Nevertheless, he walked out of the courtroom without a care in the world. Knowing full well that he had lost, he turned to his son and said, “Let’s eat.”
JIMMY wins the B’nai Brith Man of the Year Award. The sitting President, JIMMY Carter, hands him the plaque. The next day it’s reported that a gun run- ner for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) named Frank Terpel was arrested by Interpol and is being returned to NY for trial. To the dismay of the B’nai Brith, his lawyer is JIMMY LAROSSA.
JIMMY bought a 12-room apartment at 74th and Park Ave. The member of the board who interviewed him for approval was the chairman of a major Wall Street brokerage firm. “I’ve heard a lot of great things about you,” the Chairman said, “but we’re worried about the black limousines.” JIMMY starts, “Well I do own a black limousine, so I can’t help you there,” he says. “No, no” the chairman says, “we don’t mean your limousine, we mean your client’s black limousines.” JIMMY says, “I’m glad you mentioned that, because I’m worried about meeting my clients, who are your friends in the elevator. As for my clients, I never see clients at my home. Never.” A few months after JIMMY moves in, all the door- men in NYC go out on strike. The chairman calls JIMMY. “I know you have a lot of union friends,” he starts, “is there anything you can do for us?” JIMMY promis- es nothing, laughing to himself about the hypocrisy of ‘these people.’ Without saying anything, JIMMY makes a call, and the next day the doormen for his building return to work — the only staffed building in New York City.
JIMMY did anything to NOT go home after a long day since his wife couldn’t cook. He ate out almost every night and anyone who was anything often wound up at “JIMMY’s Table.” Young lawyers with kids or who had date nights with wives knew to stay clear of JIMMY’s corner office at 6pm lest they be kidnapped for the night. He was not someone you refused.
A Word About Korea
Like so much of the good fortune that came his way, JIMMY’s life was marked by luck and sheer balls. For example, he was late getting to Camp Pendleton in SOCAL because he got lost driving from Brooklyn. Barracks were full, so he was housed in an apartment on the water in Laguna Beach. He couldn’t shoot straight and failed the marksman test, so was late getting his orders. After somehow con- vincing a Marine Corp drill sergeant to pass him on the range, he was dispatched to Okinawa and NOT Korea. He became a General’s Adjutant. One day, the General ordered him to deliver papers to Tokyo. JIMMY became fast friends with the pilots on the transport. In Tokyo, the pilots got drunk and broke up a bar.
When the MPs came, JIMMY convinced them to release the pilots in his custody and he would return them to Okinawa. The General assigned JIMMY to assist the JAG Corp in the defense of Marines accused of crimes. He proved very good at it. JIMMY wrote his Mother. She took the subway to Fordham Law School, befriended an Italo-American Secy and signed her son up for law school. The General released JIMMY four months early so he could start his legal career.