A suspended Garden City divorce attorney who has had a number of high-profile clients over the years has been charged with trying to extort $200,000 from his ex-wife.
Dominic Barbara, 67, was arrested yesterday morning on charges of trying to extort money from Leslie Barbara by threatening to file false police reports and seek an order of protection against her, among other things.
Dominic Barbera, who represented himself, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment before Nassau County District Court Judge Valerie Alexander (See Profile) and was released on his own recognizance. He is due back in court on Dec. 12.
From March 2012 to September 2012, Barbara texted and called his ex-wife numerous times to get $10,000 from her, according to a press release from the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.
When she refused, the prosecution claims that Barbara threatened to reveal details about her alleged sexual relationships, to release compromising photos and videos and hold a press conference to discuss the men she allegedly had sex with. He increased his demand to $200,000, the district attorney said.
Barbara allegedly texted and called other people his ex-wife knew to get her to give in and pay him the money. The district attorney’s office said Barbara phoned his ex-wife’s employer, an unidentified law firm, and said he had photos of his ex-wife with a partner of the firm, and threatened to send those photos to the partner’s wife.
On another occasion, Barbara allegedly confronted his ex-wife at a beauty salon, telling her that “things are going to get a lot worse.”
Barbara is charged with fourth-degree attempted grand larceny, two counts of second-degree aggravated harassment and two counts of stalking in the fourth degree. If convicted, he faces up to one year in jail.
“This was a cold-hearted campaign of harassment and threats designed to put money in the defendant’s pockets, and he didn’t care how many lives were destroyed along the way. Mr. Barbara’s conduct indicates a complete lack of respect for the people he maligned, the rule of law, and common decency,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement.
Barbara already has a pending case in Nassau County District Court for allegedly violating an August 2012 order of protection to stay away from his ex-wife. The district attorney’s office said that he tried to reach her through a third party and demand money from her.
Barbara has pleaded not guilty in that case and is also representing himself. He faces one count of second-degree criminal contempt, punishable by up to one year in jail (NYLJ, Sept. 7).
Barbara’s clients have included Joey Buttafuoco, who served jail time for a statutory rape conviction in connection to his affair with Amy Fisher, who the tabloids dubbed “Long Island Lolita.” Barbara also represented Jessica Hahn, the secretary involved in a sex scandal with TV evangelist Jim Bakker.
In February 2011, the Appellate Division, Second Department, suspended Barbara for 18 months, criticizing him for not refunding unearned fees paid in advance and not issuing itemized bills. At the time of his suspension, Barbara said he planned to end his legal career (NYLJ, Feb. 15, 2011).
The suspension permitted Barbara to apply for reinstatement after March 9, 2012. The Second Department, however, has not received an application for reinstatement, according to Aprilanne Agostino, clerk of the court for the Second Department.
Deputy Bureau Chief Theresa Tebbett and Assistant District Attorney Emma Slane of the district attorney’s Special Victims Bureau are handling the case for the prosecution.
@|Andrew Keshner can be contacted at email@example.com.