“When you are accused of a crime you want a seasoned warrior to defend you against what may seem like insurmountable odds, someone with a track record of fighting and winning, who will hold the Government to their burden of proof with a tenacious defense. You need someone who is not afraid to battle it out - for as long as it takes to emerge victorious.”
Richard A. Portale is known in and out of the courtroom for his passion, hard work, and commitment to justice. Mr. Portale has consistently fought for the rights of his clients with a track record that speaks for itself.
His wide-ranging expertise includes the following:
- Murder Manslaughter
- White Collar Crimes
- Sex Crimes
- Assert Forfeiture & Seizure
No matter what the scope of the charges his clients are facing, Mr. Portale recognizes that the outcome of his work significantly impacts the lives of many. He and his team work tirelessly to do their very best for their clients.
Mr. Portale started his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney for the Honorable Jeanine Pirro at the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office. During his tenure, he rose through the ranks from Motions and Appeals to the Bureau of Investigations, where he prosecuted Narcotics, Firearms, and Gangs.
Following his time as a prosecutor, Mr. Portale transferred the skills he had honed into criminal defense work, spending the next twelve years building a reputation for being aggressive and calculated in the courtroom, helping lessen defendants' exposure to the criminal justice system.
High Profile Cases
Mr. Portale has been involved in numerous high-profile cases.
- Very recently, in a case that garnered international media coverage, the People of the State of New York v. Angelika Graswald, Mr. Portale and his team masterfully crafted a defense after police claimed his Latvian client admitted she had murdered her fiancé in a kayak on the Hudson River in April, 2015. Undeterred by the murder charge and the evidence against his client, who faced a possible sentence of 25 years to life, Mr. Portale and his team worked tirelessly for over two years and were eventually able to overcome both Murder and Manslaughter, leveraging a plea to Criminal Negligence that allows Ms. Graswald to be released in December, 2017.
- Mr. Portale was co-counsel for Bill Clinton’s neighbor, Carlos Perez-Olivo (a criminal defense lawyer himself) who was charged with Second Degree Murder in 2008. At the trial, Mr. Portale was responsible for all the forensic evidence, in which he provided scientific proof that Mr. Olivo could not have been the one to shoot his wife.
- In 2009, Mr. Portale was a member of the defense team of former NFL linebacker Eric Naposki, who was arrested and charged with first degree murder in Newport Beach, California.
- In 2010, Mr. Portale was lead counsel for Westchester Police Officer James Pileggi on charges of Reckless Manslaughter for shooting and killing a friend in his car at point blank range – with his own off duty firearm. That trial resulted in a hung jury.
- Immediately following the Pileggi trial, Mr. Portale defended Terry Carver, a longshoreman accused of breaking a screen, climbing in the window of his girlfriend’s apartment and stabbing her lover nine times in the chest and torso. Mr. Carver was acquitted in six hours.
Mr. Portale has been interviewed and/or has contributed as a guest commentator on many news platforms, such as, Fox News, Justice with Jeanine Pirro, Dateline NBC, 20/20, CBS News 48 Hours, Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Post, Washington Post, and People Magazine.
Professional & Bar Association Memberships
- New York State Bar Association (Criminal Law Section)
- Westchester County Bar Association
- National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
- New York State Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
- New York State Trial Lawyers Association
- Association of Trial Lawyers of America
- Columbian Lawyers Association
- Lawyers of Distinction top 10% in the USA – Criminal Law
- National Trial Lawyers - Top 100 Trial Lawyers - 2015, 2016, 2017
- America’s Top 100 Attorneys – Lifetime Achievement
- American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys – “10 Best” in client Satisfaction
- Global Directory of Who’s Who – top lawyer 2016
- National College for DUI Defense – Member, 2017
- National Advocacy for DUI Defense - Top 100 DWI Attorneys - New York City
- United States Supreme Court
- United States Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
- United States District Court, Southern District of New York
- United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
- New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division Second Department
- New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division Fourth Department
Education & Personal Life
Mr. Portale attended the University of Buffalo as an undergraduate, and soon after earned his juris doctorate from the John Marshall School of Law. He is originally from Buffalo, NY.
When not fighting for justice in the courtroom, Mr. Portale enjoys hiking, snowboarding, rugby, and spending time with his family.