Ricco proved an unusually candid expert witness. In an animated, hour-long back and forth with Assistant U.S. Attorney Morris J. Fodeman, Ricco frequently agreed with Fodeman, on occasion even emphatically expanding on Fodeman's points -- such as the rationale behind the prohibition of payments to witnesses.
But Ricco also made it clear, that a defense attorney must at times go to extraordinary lengths to uncover the facts of his client's case. He spoke of a colleague who had recently hired a helicopter and armed security guards in order to fly to a dangerous town in Mexico in a quest for witnesses.
When Fodeman asked Ricco "how does Tony Ricco react?" to a witness' suggestion that "an act of violence" might benefit the client, Ricco took a rare pause, then said, "The answer is that you'd dissuade somebody from doing that, but it depends on the circumstances."
Ricco then added, "A lot of people say a lot of things," for a lot of different reasons.
Tuesday's proceedings also highlighted the outsider status of Arienne Irving, Simels' former associate and current co-defendant charged with obstruction of justice.
Of the 10 attorneys sitting at the defense and prosecution tables, Irving is the only woman. In a room filled with prominent, veteran attorneys, she is perhaps, at 31, a decade younger than anyone else, aside from Shargel's associate, Evan Lipton.
While Simels, 62, often spends his court breaks talking with his wife, Irving huddles with her three roommates, with whom she shares a Manhattan apartment.
Irving, who is represented by the former Brooklyn prosecutor Javier Solano, was admitted to the New York Bar in 2004, after graduating from the University at Buffalo Law School; Simels graduated from New York Law School and was admitted in 1975. Both defendants face life in prison.
With the prosecution usually focused on Simels, Judge John Gleeson has twice asked the government if it intended to produce more evidence against Irving, an indication that he thought the case against her may have thus far been insufficient to take to the jury. The judge did, however, deny the defense's motion to acquit at the close of the government's case.
When discussing his experience as a defense attorney, Ricco told the jury, "I'm familiar with every lawyer in this courtroom, except the young lady that's a defendant."
Moments later, when Shargel jumped up for re-direct examination of Ricco, Gleeson told him to sit down and reminded him that it was Solano's turn to question Ricco.
"I'm sorry," Shargel said. "I was just so excited to ask more questions."