A one-time high-profile divorce attorney has pleaded guilty to criminal contempt for violating an order of protection to stay away from his ex-wife.
Dominic Barbara,who remains suspended from the practice of law, pleaded guilty on Friday to second-degree criminal contempt, a misdemeanor, for breaching the order, while also pleading to disorderly conduct, a violation, for allegedly stealing a pocketbook from a store.
Nassau County District Court Judge Helen Voutsinas sentenced Barbara to a conditional discharge under which he is required to continue alcohol abuse and drug treatment monitored by the district attorney. If he fails to comply, he could be resentenced with up to a year in jail. Barbara, 68, also received an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal for a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of breathing for allegedly choking his girlfriend in August. He must avoid arrest or committing any offense for one year.
Barbara praised the agreement in an interview. He said, “I earned what I got” through participation in rehabilitation. He said he had not decided whether to seek reinstatement.
The district attorney’s office charged Barbara with contempt in September 2012 for attempting to contact his former wife, Leslie, a partner at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, though her former attorney. Months later, Barbara was also charged with, among other things, attempting to extort $200,000 from her. Those charges were dismissed in satisfaction of Friday’s contempt plea.
In August 2013, Voutsinas granted a prosecution bid to have Barket, Marion, Epstein & Kearon in Garden City disqualified from representing Barbara in proceedings connected to Leslie, maintaining Bruce Barket had already formed an attorney-client relationship with her—a view rejected by the firm (NYLJ, Aug. 20 2013). Justin Feinman of Feinman & Kauffman in Mineola represented Barbara on the contempt charge. Aida Ferrer Leisening of Barket Marion of represented him in the disorderly conduct and obstruction of breathing charges. Assistant District Attorney Robert Cavallo appeared for the prosecution.