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John A. Azzarello

John A. AzzarelloJohn A. Azzarello is one of the leading white collar crime and complex commercial trial lawyers in the New York/New Jersey region. A former judicial law clerk to the Honorable Nicholas H. Politan, of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, and a former Deputy Chief in the United States Attorney's Office, Mr. Azzarello now focuses his practice on representing clients in all manner of criminal, regulatory and complex commercial litigation. With a reputation of tenacity and integrity, Mr. Azzarello prides himself on fighting zealously for the rights of his clients.


Recognized in Best Lawyers in America and Top Lawyers of NJ, Mr. Azzarello has earned a stellar reputation as a trial attorney. Mr. Azzarello has also been separately recognized as the New Jersey Super Lawyer in the specialty of White Collar Criminal Defense.

Mr. Azzarello has successfully tried numerous cases to verdict. He most recently obtained an acquittal on all felony charges in a federal prosecution of the Mayor of West New York and his son in the District of New Jersey. He has also conducted numerous internal investigations to evaluate exposure to criminal and civil liabilites on behalf of domestic and international corporations and has managed all aspects of complex commercial litigation in both state and federal courts.

With more than 25 years of experience, Mr. Azzarello has orchestrated the criminal defense of officers and directors of public and private corporations in securities, healthcare, insurance and antitrust investigations and prosecutions. He has also successfully defended numerous public officials in state and federal court. Mr. Azzarello has served as special counsel to the New Jersey Senate Democratic Caucus since 2007.

Representative Experience:

  • In 2013, after a 2 week trial, Mr. Azzarello obtained an acquittal on all felony charges for the son of the West New York Mayor. He was accused of conspiring with the Mayor to hack into an email account and shutdown a website designed by political opponents critical of the Mayor and intended to remove him from office.
  • Counseled and negotiated a favorable global plea agreement for the former Mayor of Orange, New Jersey, who was charged with accepting a bribe by federal officials and submission of fraudulent expense vouchers by state officials. Mr. Azzarello successfully argued for a substantial sentencing departure in federal court that resulted in a 9 month term of imprisonment. Through his skillful and relentless negotiations, he obtained a concurrent sentence in state court.
  • Counseled leading U.S. and international internet betting and gaming companies and payment processors concerning compliance with the United States civil and criminal online gaming laws and regulations.
  • Conducted a 7 week criminal securities fraud and insider trading jury trial in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, which resulted in a plea agreement dismissing the felony counts with the highest potential sentencing exposure including the dismissal of the lead conspiracy count that charged a
    $120 million fraud.
  • Served as counsel to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, commonly referred to as the “9/11 Commission”. Mr. Azzarello’s principal responsibilities there included investigating and evaluating the response to the terrorist attacks by the offices of the President and Vice President of the United States, the Department of Defense and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the Federal Aviation Administration, and state and local governments.
  • Served for 10 years as Assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, where he successfully conducted numerous jury trials. Mr. Azzarello started in the Criminal Division before moving on to the Special Prosecution Division, where he specialized in public corruption cases. He later was promoted to Deputy Chief, Criminal Division, where he supervised Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the investigation and prosecution of an array of federal crimes. As Deputy Chief, he had direct supervisory litigation responsibilities in numerous federal criminal trials and served as office-wide international crime coordinator.
  • Served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Nicholas H. Politan, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Awards and Achievements:

  • Recipient of the Attorney General’s Special Achievement Award for Sustained Superior Performance of Duty as a Federal Prosecutor.
  • Selected by the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, to serve as an Instructor at the Department of Justice National Advocacy Institute, Washington, D.C.
  • Recipient of the Attorney General’s Special Achievement Award for the successful trial and conviction of 17 defendants on RICO, homicide and narcotics charges in the United States v. Victor Gonzalez, et al., a case in which four defendants were sentenced to life without parole.
  • Recipient of a Letter of Commendation from Louis J. Freeh, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for the successful prosecution of the United States v. Victor Gonzalez, et al.
  • Recipient of the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey’s Special Achievement Award for the successful prosecution of the United States v. Galuzzi, a case involving public corruption.

Presentations:

  • Panelist - "Preparing your Client for the Presentence Interview and Sentencing Process in Federal Court", Criminal Justice Act Panel for the District of New Jersey, January 2014.
  • Panelist – “Preparing for the Storm: Addressing Whistleblowers and Claims of Business Fraud While Managing Corporate Investigations”, Association of Corporate Counsel, Greater New York Chapter, January 2009.
  • Panelist – “Compliance Readiness: Avoiding Compliance Surprises—Bribery, Domestic and Foreign (The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act)”, Association of Corporate Counsel, Greater New York Chapter & K&L Gates, October 2006.