In Dominic Barbara case, prosecutors see conflict of interest
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Prosecutors are asking a judge to remove a lawyer from a high-profile harassment case, saying that, until recently, the lawyer's firm represented the victim in the same case.
The defendant is Dominic Barbara, a onetime attorney to Long Island's infamous who has been having his own legal troubles recently. In December, the suspended lawyer was charged with harassing, stalking and trying to extort $200,000 from his ex-wife, Leslie. In March, he was charged with grand larceny after police said he shoplifted an Yves Saint Laurent pocketbook worth $1,400 from a high-end boutique in Americana Manhasset mall.
A motion filed Tuesday by Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice says Garden City lawyer Bruce Barket represented Leslie Barbara. Now Aida Leisenring, an attorney in Barket's firm, represents Dominic Barbara in the case, which both the ex-wife and DA call a conflict of interest.
"As you have previously acknowledged, you and I formed an attorney-client relationship regarding the sum and substance of the very same issues forming the basis of the District Attorney's prosecution of Mr. Barbara," Leslie Barbara wrote to Barket on March 5. She added, "such representation of Mr. Barbara by your firm is a clear conflict and ethical violation."
Barket would say only that he never represented Dominic or Leslie Barbara. Leisenring said late Tuesday she didn't see a conflict in her representation. "The person claiming a conflict is not a defendant," she said. "She's a witness. Witnesses don't usually need lawyers." She said she hoped a resolution can be reached "where both parties can get closure and move on."
Leisenring can respond in writing to the motion before District Court Judge Helen Voutsinas rules in the coming weeks.
With Zachary R. Dowdy