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Ex-lawyer Dominic Barbara released by judge without bail

Fallen celebrity lawyer Dominic Barbara is due back

Fallen celebrity lawyer Dominic Barbara is due back in First District Court in Hempstead on March 19, facing new charges of grand larceny in connection with an incident at the Americana Manhasset. (Dec. 3, 2012) Credit: Nassau County DA

Dominic Barbara, Long Island's one-time attorney to the infamous, hobbled into the criminal court dock Tuesday as an accused shoplifter.

Barbara, 67, was arraigned and freed Tuesday with no bail on a grand larceny charge that he shoplifted an Yves Saint Laurent pocketbook worth $1,400 from the high-end boutique Hirshleifers in the Americana Manhasset mall.

But unlike his past criminal skirmishes -- his latest ex-wife has a stalking and extortion case pending against him -- Barbara has hired an attorney. The lawyer, Aida Leisenring of Garden City, told arraigning Judge Eric Bjorneby the pocketbook had been returned and the boutique proprietor now doesn't want Barbara prosecuted.

In 2011, Barbara's law license was suspended for misconduct, and it hasn't been reinstated. His client roster once included Jessica Hahn, a church secretary who became famous during a 1980s sex and money scandal; Joey Buttafuoco, whose teen lover, Amy Fisher, dubbed the "Long Island Lolita," shot his wife in the early 1990s; and Michael Lohan.

"You know who I am! I'm Dominic Barbara," he told a man Tuesday in the courthouse hallway, saying he'd been a king in the courts but got sick.

Tuesday, prosecutor Melinda Kiss sought bail of $10,000, citing open criminal cases, previous missed court dates and no permanent address. According to court papers, Barbara left the boutique Feb. 12 without paying for the pocketbook and later told cops arresting him March 7, after being caught on surveillance video, that he'd pay, but "that he didn't think he stole it."

Leisenring said Barbara is staying in Old Brookville with friends and court dates were missed due to superstorm Sandy.

Except to say he's sick and seeking help, Barbara declined to comment. Yet during the proceeding, he repeatedly interrupted, inaudibly to the gallery, to address the court, prompting a plea by his own lawyer: "I'm asking my client not to speak on the record -- respectfully."

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