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WBEN Seeks Commentary From Paul Cambria on Two High-Profile Cases

Paul Cambria, nationally known Buffalo criminal defense attorney, was sought out by WBEN to comment on new developments in the widely publicized cases of Jeffrey Basil and Chad Kelly.

Click here for the interview.

On jury selection for Molly’s Pub trial

Jeffrey Basil, the former manager of Molly’s Pub in Buffalo, is accused of causing the death of Bill Sager, Jr., a local air national guardsman, by pushing him down the bar’s stairs. During the first day of jury selection for Mr. Basil’s trial, no one was chosen.

Asked what types of questions potential jurors would likely be asked, Mr. Cambria explained, “The big question is how much they have been exposed to by the media and whether . . .  they have formed an opinion and whether or not they can put that opinion aside.” He continued, “The big factor is going to be all the publicity that there was.”

Mr. Cambria pointed out the difficulties created not only with traditional media exposure, “but social media as well.” He noted, for example, “Recently in a case that I had tried, every single day there were comments from all of the various news outlets on their blogs with people expressing themselves.”

Asked whether attorneys review potential jurors’ social media backgrounds, Mr. Cambria said, “We do. The only thing you can’t do, at least in New York and in a number of other states, is to specifically friend someone . . . to access the information they reserve for friends as opposed to what they put out in public.”

On sentencing a promising, troubled young athlete

Chad Kelly, who recently signed on as quarterback for Ole Miss, was charged with assault, harassment, and other crimes after a fight with bouncers outside a Buffalo bar. All criminal charges against Mr. Kelly, who is the nephew of former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, were dismissed as part of deal where he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

Asked about Mr. Kelly’s conditional-discharge sentence, which includes 50 hours of community service, and whether he may have received preferential treatment, Mr. Cambria said, “I don’t think that was an unusual disposition. He was charged with low-level misdemeanors for a little bar fracas. For that to end up as a disorderly conduct . . . appears to be totally appropriate.”

Mr. Cambria continued, “Obviously there are some issues there . . . maybe anger management and some other things. On the other hand, there are some people who would say it is that kind of fire we need for our quarterbacks.”

In addition to the areas of criminal trials and criminal appeals, Mr. Cambria practices in the areas of Constitutional and First Amendment law, zoning and land use, antitrust, and professional licensing defense. A member of Lipsitz Green’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area, he divides his time between the firm’s Buffalo and Los Angeles offices. 

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