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Veteran defense attorney who practiced on LI sentenced in fake-letter case

A veteran criminal defense attorney who practiced widely on Long Island was sentenced Friday to 60 days' confinement at a community center and a $2,000 penalty for conspiring to get a client into a prison drug treatment program by using a fake letter to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, federal officials announced.

Scott Brettschneider, 62, who specialized in wrongful conviction cases and whose nickname was "Mighty Whitey," was also given four years' probation and 80 hours of community service by U.S. District Court Judge Carol B. Amon in a Brooklyn federal court, the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI said. Brettschneider, of Mint Hill, North Carolina, had faced up to five years in prison after a jury in April convicted him of working with two other men in the conspiracy in 2014 and 2015. 

The letter falsely claimed that drug dealer Richard “Love” Marshall had a history of drug dependence. The letter could have led to an early release for Marshall, a source of client referrals for the attorney, prosecutors had said.

"Brettschneider has now been held accountable for breaking the law he had been sworn to uphold,” said Richard Donoghue, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, which covers Long Island. “This office is committed to prosecuting those who defraud federal programs.”

His three codefendants were sentenced this year and last. Marshall, 57, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make false statements and was sentenced in October to three years’ probation and a fine of $1,500. Brettschneider's paralegal, Reginald Shabazz Muhammad, 63, of Queens, who had been tasked with writing the false letter, pleaded guilty to making false statements and was sentenced in January to two years' probation and a $1,000 fine. Charles Gallman, 57, of Queens, who acted as the attorney's go-between with Marshall, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make false statements and to violating the Travel Act for bribing a witness and was sentenced March 20 to three years in prison.

Brettschneider could not be reached for comment.

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