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Defense lawyer Robert George to be sentenced

Could get 5 years in prison

Prosecutors are asking a federal judge in Boston to send Robert A. George, a prominent criminal defense lawyer convicted of money laundering, to prison for more than five years when he is sentenced on Wednesday.

In a court filing on Tuesday, prosecutors requested a 63-month prison term for George. His sentencing is scheduled for 11 a.m. in federal court in Boston, where he was convicted of helping a former client launder $200,000 in profits from crimes.

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Prosecutors rejected what they said was George’s assertion that he did not know he had entered into an agreement with Ronald Dardinski, who secretly recorded conversations with George while working as a government informant, to launder drug proceeds.

“Frankly, that [George] persists in this claim, having had it rejected decisively by the Court in pre and post-trial pleadings, and by the jury at trial, is puzzling,” prosecutors wrote. “As the Court is aware . . . on a March 18, 2009 call, cooperating witness Ronnie Dardinski told the defendant, ‘ . . . I got some other money from — I sold some coke to a guy and I gotta hide that money too.’ ”

George, 57, declined to comment on Tuesday night.

Robert M. Goldstein, a lawyer for George, fired back in a court filing on Tuesday in response to prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation. Goldstein previously requested an 18-month sentence.

“First, neither the Court nor the jury has rejected any claim that Mr. George did not know the funds at issue derived from drugs, as contrasted with the State larceny offenses, and it is the government suggestion to the contrary that is puzzling,” Goldstein wrote.

Dardinski said at trial that George voluntarily offered to help him “clean” illicit profits and referred him to a mortgage broker who took 20 percent and split it with George.

At trial, Goldstein used recordings of conversations between George and Dardinski in an effort to show that George repeatedly said he wanted nothing to do with the transactions with the broker.

In a legal career spanning three decades, George has represented a number of high-profile clients, including organized crime figures and Christopher M. McCowen, a garbage man convicted of the 2002 rape and murder of fashion writer Christa Worthington.

Among George’s supporters who have submitted letters to US District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton, who will sentence him on Wednesday, is William J. Weishaupt, a retired FBI agent.

“Bob George is a wonderful and caring individual behind the public persona of an aggressive defense attorney,” Weishaupt wrote. “ . . . At home he paints, sculpts, and enjoys learning and demonstrating magic tricks. Those who know him well adore him.”

Another supporter, J.W. Carney Jr., a defense lawyer representing James “Whitey” Bulger, described George as an advocate for indigent clients and a devoted father.

“That whole world has been upended by this case, and I know he is suffering deeply not for himself, but for his family,” Carney wrote.

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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