A defense attorney who investigators say has ties to the New York Mafia is quitting the legal team of reputed Connecticut underboss Anthony Megale, a move that avoids a public hearing on whether there are conflicts of interests in the case.
New York attorney Joseph Corozzo was captured on video hobnobbing with Gambino family brass at Foxwoods Resort Casino. That, coupled with the fact that his uncle is convicted mobster Nicholas “Little Nick” Corozzo, led prosecutors to request a hearing on whether Corozzo could effectively represent Megale.
“At this point, attorney Corozzo will be withdrawing from the case, unrelated to any allegation,” said Stephan E. Seeger, another of Megale’s attorneys.
Megale is accused of being the No. 2 man in the Gambino crime family, running gambling rackets in Fairfield County.
Corozzo’s decision to leave Megale’s legal team postpones a hearing scheduled Thursday, but prosecutors still want a judge to hear their complaint over Corozzo’s courtroom performance last year, in which he publicly identified an FBI informant.
Much of the racketeering, extortion and gambling charges against Megale are built on the secret cooperation of a Stamford strip club owner. Corozzo infuriated prosecutors when he identified the club owner at a bail hearing.
“There’s a very important principal involved here, and that is the need to keep confidential witnesses out of the public domain,” said U.S. Attorney Kevin O’Connor. “I don’t think his withdrawal from the case makes this issue go away.”