rated by Super Lawyers Edward V. Sapone
  • Founding Partner

Edward V. Sapone is a founding partner of Sapone & Petrillo, LLP. He concentrates his practice on federal criminal defense and white-collar litigation. Mr. Sapone has spent his entire career defending people and corporations accused of crimes. 

For more than 20 years, Mr. Sapone has tried an extraordinary number of cases as lead trial counsel. He has gained acquittals in federal courts for clients indicted for the most serious crimes such as multi-million-dollar fraud, structuring financial transactions, conspiracies, large-scale narcotics trafficking, hostage-taking, kidnapping, alien smuggling, and other offenses.

He also has consistently won in state court—from the most severe murder cases to trials including the assault of CIA agents protecting Barbara and Jenna Bush, wife and daughter of U.S. President George W. Bush, and other crimes. Mr. Sapone also has negotiated hundreds of dismissals, deferred prosecutions, and other favorable resolutions for those clients who did not wish to proceed to trial. 

Mr. Sapone also has been retained by civil firms, plaintiffs, and defendants to try their labor law cases. He has won millions of dollars in verdicts for plaintiffs and has prevented millions of dollars in verdicts for defendants. 

Mr. Sapone has routinely represented high profile clients too. Some examples include a target of the federal NXIVM Sex Cult prosecution in the Brooklyn Federal courthouse (prevented prosecution); a lead defendant in the Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Felix Bronx Trinitarios machete homicide prosecution (relieved as counsel due to federal trial); a lead defendant in the largest gang takedown in NYC history by 700 agents who arrested 120 defendants who were prosecuted in the Manhattan federal courthouse; client was indicted for murder, RICO, narcotics, and for firearms offenses that carried a 45-year mandatory minimum sentence; when the case began the client faced a mandatory life sentence for the murder; client admitted to the murder and to being a leader of the RICO who trafficked drugs and possessed guns (ultimately achieved sentence of only 14 years); the “El Muñecon” prosecution in Puerto Rico federal courthouse involving thousands of kilograms of cocaine and other controlled substances and a $100 million forfeiture; when the case began the client faced a life sentence (ultimately achieved plea offer of 15 years eight months); a $50 million trademark counterfeiting, commercial bribery and tax investigation in Nassau County, NY, and a $50 million forfeiture stemming from counterfeit cellphones imported from China (prevented prosecution in state and federal court and negotiated the return of $35 million to client); a $29 million federal tax fraud case prosecuted in the EDNY Central Islip federal courthouse; capped maximum sentencing exposure at only 36 months (client served only 10 months in BOP camp); a $70 million Nike Air Jordan counterfeiting conspiracy in the Manhattan federal courthouse (achieved time-served sentence of six hours with supervised release); an honest services fraud, public corruption, mortgage fraud and tax prosecution of a Yonkers City Council Member in the Manhattan federal courthouse involving official action voting in exchange for cash bribes (retained for sentencing when government sought 17-year sentence; achieved downward variance from chief judge to 6 years); a San Diego federal prosecution that piggy-backed the BALCO professional athlete steroid scandal; client was a medical professional who was importing from China and Mexico the raw materials to make steroids; then made and distributed steroids (ultimately achieved sentence of probation); and many multi-million dollar healthcare fraud and money laundering prosecutions in the Manhattan, Brooklyn and NJ federal courthouses.

Many times throughout his legal career, Mr. Sapone has convinced prosecutors to drop the case or agree not to file charges. His representation of the advisor to a President of Mexico resulted in no criminal charges being filed. His representation of a mayor of a New Jersey township resulted in no criminal charges being filed. He was retained by a member of Kool and the Gang. The case was disposed of with no criminal conviction. Mr. Sapone was trial counsel to hip hop pioneer Master Ace. Full acquittal of all charges after trial. He represented one of the members of the pop-culture group, the Pussycat Dolls. The case was disposed of with no criminal conviction. 

Mr. Sapone represented Sou El Flotador, a Regatón music sensation (large-scale narcotics importation); a Yonkers City council member (public corruption); and the captain of a vessel that contained thousands of kilograms of cocaine captured by the U.S. Coastguard—all in the Manhattan federal courthouse, and all receiving drastic downward variances from the otherwise draconian federal sentencing guidelines. 

Mr. Sapone is a Past-President of the New York Criminal Bar Association and the current Chair of its Sentencing Committee. He is criminal defense counsel to the Government of Mexico through its Consulate in New York. Mr. Sapone is a faculty member of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy at Hofstra Law School, and the Marino Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Manhattan, through which he has taught at New York Law School, Fordham Law School, and Rutgers Law School. 

Mr. Sapone is routinely retained and admitted pro hac vice in various foreign jurisdictions, including New Jersey, Puerto Rico, Florida, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Colorado. 

Following a rigorous selection process focused on trial experience and reputation among judges, prosecutors, and peers, Mr. Sapone was invited onto the federal Criminal Justice Act Panel for the Southern District of New York (2016-Present) and N.Y. State Homicide Panel for the Appellate Division, First Department (2012 - Present).

Having successfully defended hundreds of criminal defendants, Mr. Sapone received Citations of Honor by the Queens Borough President (2009) and by a N.Y. State Assemblyman (2011), and a Proclamation of Honor by a N.Y. State Senator (2010 and 2014). Mr. Sapone has also been recognized by VerdictSearch's Top New York Verdicts of 2010 and by Super Lawyers every year from 2014-Present. 

Mr. Sapone has taught advanced trial techniques and federal practice to thousands of lawyers. He has mentored more than a dozen law and university students. He teaches at the Manhattan federal courthouse annually.

Since the coronavirus shutdown, Mr. Sapone wrote the course curriculum for, and recruited 19 lawyers to teach, a 10-week, 15-hour federal practice CLE series. During this time, Mr. Sapone has been invited to serve as a panelist who has taught other criminal defense lawyers five continuing legal education seminars. He has moderated six of these seminars focused on federal practice and trial practice, and they attracted more than 1,000 remote attendances.

Having represented corporate CEOs and Wall Street broker-dealers, Mr. Sapone also has been invited to lecture for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.He is often sought to share his extensive knowledge of criminal law with the public. He has appeared as a legal analyst on CNN, Headline News, Court TV, MSNBC, Fox 5, and TRUTV. 

Mr. Sapone is fluent in Spanish. He has represented hundreds of people from Central and South America and the Caribbean. He has appeared as a legal analyst on Telemundo and Univision, as well as on international Spanish radio. 

Mr. Sapone’s high profile cases have been printed in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Business Week, Crain’s New York Business, the NACDL Champion, and numerous New York City and local newspapers. 

He sits on the Board of Directors of the New York Criminal Bar Association and is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. As a courtesy to the NYCBA, Mr. Sapone publishes Ed Sapone’s. Decisions of the Week, in which he analyzes and summarizes all published federal and N.Y. state appellate opinions. 

Mr. Sapone was born, raised, and educated in New York City. He received a B.A. from Fordham University. He then attended law school at night while working as a full-time criminal defense paralegal during the day. He earned a J.D. cum laude from New York Law School, where he was an Editor of the International and Comparative Law Journal, and a Member of Distinction of the Moot Court Association. He completed externships for a N.Y. Supreme Court Justice in 1997, and a Chief of the Criminal Division of the Bronx DA’s Office in 1998. Mr. Sapone was also a contributor to the Suppression Law section of the 1998 Bench Manual relied upon by New York State trial judges.

Mr. Sapone has headed the Manhattan offices of a boutique criminal defense law firm with offices in Manhattan and Garden City, NY, while running marathons in New York and New Jersey, having competed in the 2013 Northeast Regional Ironman Championship. He reads the Bible daily, feeds and clothes homeless people every Wednesday, travels to Haiti on relief missions, and helps his wife raise four children (22-year-old recent college grad, 17-year-old actress/singer, 13-year-old all-star cheerleader, and a 6-year-old Pokémon trainer). 


  • New York Law School, New York, New York
    • J.D.
    • Honors: summa cum laude
    • Honors: Member of Distinction of the Moot Court Association
  • Fordham University
    • B.A.
  • Lecturer, Seton Hall Law School, October 2020
  • Advanced Negotiation Techniques For Federal Criminal Defense, Seton Hall Law School, September 2020
  • The art of defending a criminal trial, Marino Institute, June 29, 2020
  • Marino Institute for Continuing Legal Education, January 26, 2019
  • National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Hofstra University, January 3, 2019
  • Marino Institute for Continuing Legal Education, December 8, 2018
  • Cross Examination, Marino Institute, 2016
  • Courtroom Testimony, Nassau Country Police Academy
  • Jury Selection, Hofstra Law School, 2016
  • Faculty Member, National Institute of Trial Advocacy
  • Lecturer, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
  • Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, New York County, Extern
  • Deputy Chief of the Criminal Court Bureau of the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office, Extern
  • New York Criminal Bar Association, President, 2015 to Present
  • Federal Bar Council, Member
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Member
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Member
  • New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Member
  • Consulate of Mexico in New York, Criminal Defense Council
  • White Collar Criminal Defense
  • Criminal Defense
  • New York
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Western District of New York
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of New York
  • Colorado
  • Chair of NYCBA's Sentencing Committee: 2017 - Present
  • Super Lawyers, New York Metro (White Collar Criminal Defense) 2014 - 2020
  • National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers 2014 - 2020
  • President New York Criminal Bar Association 2015-17
  • Rated by Avvo 10.0 Superb
  • Avvo Clients’ Choice, Criminal Defense, 2014-Present
  • Appointed on Homicide Panel, Appellate Division, First Department, in March 2012-Present
  • Appointed on Criminal Justice Act Panel, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, 2016-Present
  • Awarded Citation of Honor in September 2011 by New York State Assemblyman Francisco P. Moya for exemplary service through the practice of criminal defense
  • Recognized in April 2011 by the Board of Directors of New York’s Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
  • Received Proclamation of Honor in 2010 by New York State Senator Jose Peralta for accomplishments in the profession of criminal defense and extraordinary contributions to the community
  • Recognized in VerdictSearch’s Top New York Verdicts of 2010 for $1.9 million verdict following a jury trial in Queens Supreme Court
  • Received Recognition of Honor in 2009 by New York’s Comite Fiestas Patrias Mexican-American organization for humanitarian actions and invaluable service in the field of criminal defense
  • Awarded Citation of Honor in 2009, by President of the Borough of Queens, Hon. Helen M. Marshall, for outstanding leadership and work in the area of criminal defense