LORENZO “FAT CAT” NICHOLS
Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols was a notorious drug ringleader in the 1980s in Southern Queens who reputedly ran a sophisticated drug distribution network with approximately 300 workers. Victor Knapp was part of his defense team and was intricately involved in representing him and others during his parole revocation proceedings, as well as the State and Federal criminal prosecutions and investigations involving charges of racketeering (RICO) , conspiracy, drug distribution, and the murders of his parole officer Brian Rooney and rookie police officer Edward Byrnes.
The rise and downfall of Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols was the subject of an “American Gangster” documentary produced and extensively shown on the BET Channel in New York. I appeared as guest legal commentator in connection with my prior representation of Lorenzo Nichols and associates.
Link: See “From Queens Comes Kings” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WyjEe8RTHc
The Rise and Fall of an “American Gangster”
Today, Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols is remembered as one of New York’s most infamous drug dealers. He was born in 1958 in Alabama, but traveled north to Queens during the late 1960s. In 1976, Nichols was convicted of two robberies, but was released from prison in 1980 after serving less than three years of an 18-year sentence.
After his release, Nichols became more heavily involved in illegal narcotics operations. (One of his closest friends and associates, Howard “Pappy” Mason, would also go on to be represented by criminal defense lawyer Victor Knapp.) Nichols was apprehended again in July of 1985, and was charged with gun possession and drug possession after police found two firearms, heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and $180,000.
Nichols’ parole officer, Brian Rooney, was fatally shot on October 10, and in 1987, “Fat Cat” was indicted on second degree murder charges. He was also charged with the murders of his former girlfriend, Myrtle Horsham, and several of his associates.
In 1992, Nichols pleaded guilty to Rooney’s murder, and received a sentence of 25 years to life. He also pleaded guilty to drug charges and racketeering charges, and was given an additional sentence of 40 years. While he could have been facing life behind bars, Nichols was ultimately given a lighter sentence for cooperating with authorities.