Protecting the Family

A mob lawyer discusses his code of conduct

"It was expected we do the right thing." That was Martin Light's description of the simple code he followed during his 15 years as an attorney for the Mafia. And what exactly was the right thing? Counseling mobsters to perjure themselves, take the Fifth Amendment and destroy evidence; helping them to intimidate witnesses and jurors; paying off judges, prosecutors and police officials; and even fingering clients as suspected informants. "To do the right thing means to protect the family," explained Light. "It's a way of life."

When Light, 50, appeared before the President's Commission on Organized Crime in Washington last week,...

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