Moshe Gerstein, Attorney Charged In Sweep, Found Dead In Mexico

Attorney Charged In Child-Porn Sweep Found Dead In Mexico

A former attorney at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher who was charged along with at least two dozen others in a child-pornography sweep died in Mexico two days after the charges were publicly announced, prosecutors and his family said.

Moshe Gerstein, 35, died on June 16, his family said in an obituary posted on the website of Massachusetts newspaper The Republican.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, Alexander Featherstone, confirmed that Gerstein died in Mexico City, after Above The Law, a legal-gossip website, initially reported it.

"Our consular officials are aware of the death and have been assisting the family," Featherstone said.

The cause of death was not immediately clear.

Gerstein attended Yale University and graduated from Harvard Law School in 2001. He worked as an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom before moving to Gibson Dunn, where he specialized in corporate transactions, according to a profile of him on the firm's website. The profile was taken down shortly after the charges were announced on June 14.

Gerstein was first arrested on May 10 and was freed on $5,000 bail, Manhattan district attorney spokeswoman Erin Duggan said.

Charges against him were formally dropped on Wednesday at a hearing in Manhattan criminal court, Duggan said, after his death was confirmed.

A lawyer who had been representing Gerstein, Steven Kartagener, was not immediately available to comment.

"This is a tragedy for his family, and we extend our condolences," Gibson Dunn said in a statement.

Manhattan prosecutors had accused Gerstein of being a part of a child-pornography ring that shared images of children being raped and sexually abused.

Funeral services are being held Friday in Springfield, Massachusetts.

(Reporting by Basil Katz, Leigh Jones and Noeleen Walder)

Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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