Long friendship behind DiSalvo’s Choice of Lawyer
When Pitkin County deputy Joe DiSalvo appears in court this week to face an assault charge, he’ll have one of the most recognizable defense attorneys in the country by his side.DiSalvo, charged with municipal assault in June after allegedly hitting a man in an Aspen restaurant, hired Pamela Mackey, who is often seen going in and out of the Eagle County Courthouse as she represents Kobe Bryant. The Denver-based attorney is one half of the NBA star’s defense team.The charges facing DiSalvo, chief of investigations at the sheriff’s office, and Bryant are worlds apart, and DiSalvo’s choice of attorney raised eyebrows.Although both Mackey and DiSalvo declined to comment for this article, several sources told The Aspen Times the two are longtime friends.The deputy was charged with municipal assault and battery in June while having dinner at Jimmy’s Restaurant. DiSalvo told police he tried to joke with two women in the restaurant who were looking for an earring, and one of the women’s boyfriends, Thomas Drake, came over to talk to him about it.DiSalvo told police he thought Drake was very threatening and might hit him, so he hit Drake. Mackey has told The Aspen Times her client acted in self-defense.Arnie Mordkin, a Snowmass Village defense attorney, said he thinks that DiSalvo’s choice of attorneys was wise for many reasons.”Any time a law enforcement officer is charged with criminal activity, it’s a big thing, and that’s a fact,” Mordkin said. “You ought to hire the best attorney you can hire. I don’t know Pamela Mackey anymore than what I’ve seen on TV, but I have to assume that Kobe Bryant would not hire some lawyer who didn’t know what the hell they were doing.”In addition, Mordkin said local defense attorneys frequently work with law enforcement officials on opposite sides of an issue. Since DiSalvo has hired an attorney from out of town, Mordkin said there will be no conflict of interest later on in his career as a deputy.”There is a lot of interaction that occurs between the sheriff’s office and defense attorneys – we rely on them for truth, honesty and good judgment in their work,” Mordkin said. “If I represented him, successfully or unsuccessfully, and another case came up that he and I would have to handle together, people might have a concern that he wasn’t doing as good of a job on a case as he could because I represented him.”When it comes to Bryant’s case, the Lakers star is also being defended by Mackey’s law partner, Hal Haddon. But in the past several months Mackey has become the lawyer usually photographed accompanying Bryant to hearings in Eagle, looking especially petite next to her client, who stands 6 feet 6 inches tall.According to an article printed in Lawyers Weekly USA, Mackey has had success defending several sports figures in the past. The article says Mackey had domestic violence charges dismissed against former Colorado Avalanche goaltender Patrick Roy, and also had criminal negligence charges dropped against a British skier involved in the death of another skier at a Colorado resort.DiSalvo’s first appearance in municipal court is scheduled for Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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