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Two accused in plot against judge plead not guilty

Two men accused of plotting to kill a Long Island federal judge and a federal prosecutor pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Eastern District federal court in Brooklyn.

Joseph Romano, 49, of Levittown, and Dejvid Mirkovic, 38, of Lake Worth, Fla., entered their pleas before Southern District federal Judge John Keenan, who usually sits in his district in Manhattan.

Keenan had been brought into the case to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest, according to sources familiar with the situation. That also was the reason the case was moved from the federal courthouse in Central Islip, where the charges originally were filed, to Brooklyn, the sources said.

Romano and Mirkovic were accused of plotting against Eastern District U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Bianco and federal prosecutor Lara Treinis Gatz, who work out of the Central Islip courthouse.

Federal prosecutors have charged that Romano wanted to have Bianco and Treinis Gatz killed as revenge, and Mirkovic agreed to help carry out the plot.

The judge had sentenced Romano to 15 years in prison in February for operating a bogus coin-collectible scheme, a case which Treinis Gatz prosecuted.

According to prosecutors, the hit men they thought they were hiring to carry out the killings were actually undercover police officers.

Romano's attorney Joseph Kilada said that so far only the government's version of events has been presented, not his client's. Mirkovic's attorney could not be reached for comment.

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