Saturday, October 23, 2010
Mafia lawyer Seth Ginsberg weeded out; banned from visiting lockup after he's caught with pot
A mob lawyer has been banned from a Manhattan federal lockup after he was caught trying to walk in with a bag of marijuana, sources told the Daily News.
Seth Ginsberg - who was visiting a reputed Gambino soldier when guards found the illicit weed - wasn't arrested.
But he is barred from the Metropolitan Correctional Center while the feds probe whether he was trying to smuggle the pot inside.
"I had no idea there was anything illegal in my bag. I had no intention of bringing anything illegal to my client, nor would he ever ask or want me to," Ginsberg said yesterday.
He blamed the dopey incident on his brother - who swears the marijuana was his.
"Anyone who knows Seth knows this is some crazy happenstance," said lawyer Charles Carnesi.
The rare ban followed Ginsberg's Oct. 12 attempt to see reputed Gambino soldier Thomas Orefice, who is accused of recruiting girls for an underage hooker ring.
The lawyer, who once defended mob scion John A. (Junior) Gotti, stopped at the security tent outside the MCC. There, a correction officer asked him to open his bag, a standard procedure.
Tucked inside a pocket was a plastic sandwich bag that held an undetermined amount of marijuana.
Ginsberg blurted out, "How did that get there?" and pointed the finger at his brother, whom he said had used the bag, a source said.
Ginsberg wasn't allowed to enter, but the officers let him leave the screening area. When he returned a short time later, the bag of marijuana was gone, sources said. Still, he was told he could not come in, sources said.
A correction officer later found what officials believe was the same bag of marijuana in a nearby garbage can, sources said.
The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan was notified of the breach. A spokeswoman declined comment.
A spokesman for the federal Bureau of Prisons said it did not have the specifics of the case.
Ginsberg's younger brother submitted a sworn affidavit acknowledging the marijuana bag was his, and that has been submitted to investigators, Carnesi said.
Carnesi said the amount of pot in the bag was minimal and briefcases and bags are not even allowed into the client area. "Clearly, this does not rise to the level of an attempt to smuggle anything in," Carnesi said.
Under state law, anyone found with trace amounts of marijuana is hit with a citation. Carrying 2 to 8 ounces is a misdemeanor.
Orefice was drug tested after the incident and passed, a source said.