S. Michael Musa-Obregon
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Our firm is headed by S. Michael Musa Obregon, a former New York City prosecutor who is highly experienced in immigration law, deportation, criminal deportations, asylum, residency, citizenship, and business immigration law.
S. MICHAEL MUSA-OBREGON has successfully tried many dozens of immigration cases to verdict. Using effective legal strategy and rock-solid legal preparation combined with a keen understanding of the immigrant communities he represents, Mr. Musa-Obregon has repeatedly obtained extraordinary results for his clients.
A native New Yorker raised in the Bronx, and the son of immigrant parents from international backgrounds, Mr. Musa-Obregon is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, a school that will always hold a special place in his heart. He obtained his
Bachelors of Arts in History from
Georgetown University in 1988 and his
Juris Doctor from the
University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1991. As a student, Mr. Musa-Obregon also worked as a judicial law clerk for a federal judge in Philadelphia, the late U.S. District Judge Clifford Scott Greene.
After graduating from Penn Law School, Mr. Musa-Obregon served for several years as an Assistant District Attorney, a criminal prosecutor for New York City under the Honorable Richard Brown. Wanting to realize his life-long dream of defending people, he launched his private practice in 1993.
Mr. Musa-Obregon has attained a high level of expertise in the field of immigration law and deportation. As a researcher at Georgetown University's Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C. he studied the immigration problems and issues confronting Mexican migrant workers in Lubbock, West Texas. Under the auspices of
U.S. Catholic Charities Migration Project, he began his legal career working at the grass roots level, defending Mexican migrant workers in Lubbock, Texas. In Texas, Mr. Musa-Obregon handled thousands of immigration applications of migrant workers applying for
legalization and other benefits in 1987. His work culminated in the production of a documentary film on the immigration issues facing Mexican migrant workers in West Texas.
While in private practice in the most densely immigrant-populated area of the United States- Jackson Heights, Queens - Mr. Musa-Obregon personally defended hundreds of immigration matters ranging from tough criminal deportations, to political asylum, complex family petitions, appeals and motions to reopen. As a New York immigration defense lawyer, he has worked with immigrants from all over the world, including
Eastern Europe, (Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, Uzbekistanis, Azerbaijanis, Georgians, Czechs, Georgians, Moldavians, Bulgarians, Albanians, Serbs, Croats, etc), Latin America (Colombians, Ecuadorians, Dominicans, Mexicans, El Salvadorians, Hondurans, Guatemalans, etc), the Middle East (Palestinians, Jordanians, Lebanese, Egyptians, Syrians, Algerians, Moroccans, Kuwaitis, Bahrainis, Saudi Arabians, Yemenis, etc), The Caribbean, (Guayanese, Jamaicans, Haitians, Barbadians, Trinidadians, the Antilles, the Indian Subcontinent (Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans), Asia (Mandarin & Cantonese-speaking), Koreans, Japanese, those from Southeast Asia (Filipino, Vietnamese, Indonesians, Myanmarians, Cambodians, Thais and Laotians), and also from Africa (Nigerians, Somalis, Ethiopians, Gambians, Tunisians, Togolese, Beninese, Moroccans, and Algerians). Defending immigrants from incredibly diverse backgrounds in the bustling melting pot that is New York City, has sensitized Mr. Musa-Obregon to the specific needs and the cultures of clients from all these regions.
As an immigration lawyer, Mr. Musa-Obregon is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Immigrant Defense Project of the National Lawyers Guild and the Immigrant Defense Project of the New York State Defenders Association.
He is a regular speaker at the Center for New Americans of the New York Public Library, and is a regular invited guest at various New York City colleges and universities, high schools, churches, mosques and temples where he lectures before assembled members, students and parents on issues involving immigration law, the rights of immigrants and police-youth interaction in the inner city. Mr. Musa-Obregon has been a featured commentator on Spanish Television and Radio and Television on
Telemundo, Univision, MundoHispanoTV, Cosmovision, and Radio-WADO on issues impacting immigrant communities. For many years Mr. Musa-Obregon has regularly hosted several educational immigration radio programs entitled
"Su Mejor Defensa Legal" and produces a weekly television show "Su Derechos Legales con el Abogado Michael Musa-Obregon". He has also hosted similar shows on Haitian Radio on
Radio Tropicale in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Mr. Musa-Obregon is also a television reporter with
MundoHispanoTV and regularly interviews luminaries in the legal, political and the world of entertainment. Mr. Musa-Obregon speaks Spanish, has a working knowledge of French, and understands some Polish and Arabic.
Mr. Musa-Obregon's international interests extend to music: he is an avid fan of world music including Arabic, Greek, and Turkish orchestral and dance music as well as Salsa and Afro-Cuban Jazz. Mr. Musa-Obregon is studying percussion including the doumbek, congas, timbales and other percussion instruments, sometimes joining musicians during concerts, clubs and jam sessions in the NY-NJ metropolitan area. He also raises beautiful Cocker Spaniel puppies, which he counts among his "best friends."
Mr. James Benintendi is a veteran trial lawyer with over twenty years of experience trying tough, complex civil and criminal cases. He has served as a prosecutor in Dade County Florida under Janet Reno and as well as Assistant State Attorney General in New York City. He has also served as a Senior Counsel in the Manhattan Trial Unit for the City of New York. Mr. Benintendi is intimately familiar with trying difficult cases before tough judges against powerful adversaries in front of demanding juries - with successful results.
While under Janet Reno, Mr. Benintendi tried close to one hundred criminal cases, including almost a dozen jury trials, in matters ranging for misdemeanors to felonies. While defending the City of New York in lawsuits against the city, Mr. Benintendi has obtained remarkable results, saving the New York City many millions of dollars in monetary claims, often by trying the cases to jury verdict. Since entering private practice, Mr. Benintendi has also successfully argued various civil matters before the Appellate Court.
During the last 10 years, Mr. Benintendi has practiced exclusively on the plaintiff’s side, serving as senior trial counsel for several highly recognized personal injury law firms before joining Musa-Obregon & Associates. Mr. Benintendi represented accidents victims against insurance companies, and city and state governments in a variety of matters involving police misconduct, automobile accidents, as well as premises and workplace accidents. Using his years of experience as a former prosecutor and civil trial attorney for the benefit of his clients, Mr. Benintendi knows how to fight for “the little guy” against corporations and insurance companies.
Mr. Benintendi anticipates his opponents' defenses and strategies and like a skilled chess strategist, modifies his moves anticipating the other sides' conduct. Mr. Benintendi knows his courtroom opponents’ methods and tactics and brings to bear his many years of experience to fight vigorously and effectively for his clients.
Mr. Benintendi lives in Manhattan with his wife and enjoys spending time with his family as well as the many exciting activities the five boroughs of New York City have to offer, including parks, museums and Broadway shows.
Attorney Benjamin Weisenberg is an experienced trial lawyer at Musa-Obregon & Associates. A persuasive courtroom advocate, Mr. Weisenberg concentrates on both criminal and immigration trials. Mr. Weisenberg has tried dozens of immigration trials to verdict, often obtaining winning results for his immigrant clients. In his criminal trials as well, Mr. Weisenberg is a formidable adversary in the courtroom often emerging victorious in many of his criminal trials. He aggressively practices "in the trenches" at 26 Federal Plaza, 970 Broad Street in Newark and the formidable Varick Street Immigration Court in Manhattan and throughout New York City and the suburban criminal courts in Westchester, Rockland and Long Island.
An honors cum laude law graduate from Capital University Law School in Ohio, where he concentrated in criminal litigation, Mr. Weisenberg founded the Seattle, Washington law firm, the Weisenberg Law Office before joining Musa-Obregon & Associates. In private practice, Mr. Weisenberg defended individuals charged with felonies and misdemeanors, before relocating to New York City. Mr. Weisenberg also served as an Assistant City Prosecutor at Whitehall Mayor's Court in Ohio where he prosecuted different types of crimes, concluded plea negotiations and made sentencing recommendations to the court. He also interned at the United State's Attorney Office in Columbus, Ohio where he assisted in prosecuting environmental crimes. While in law school Mr. Weisenberg studied international law at the International Criminal Tribunal at The Hague, in the Netherlands, as well as Conflict Resolution at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. Mr. Weisenberg holds a BA with concentrations in criminology and sociology from Ohio State University. He is licensed before the federal and state bars in both New York and Washington.
Pedro J. Moreno
Mr. Moreno concentrates in the fields of criminal defense and general immigration law including deportation defense. Mr. Moreno is admitted to the New York and Havana bars.
Multilingual in English, Spanish, French and Italian, Mr. Moreno holds an LL.M
Masters of Law degree concentrating in Comparative Law from the University of Miami Law School. Before joining Musa-Obregon & Associates, Mr. Moreno worked as Special Counsel at the Miami office of Hunton & Williams, a large American corporate law firm where he worked on an international litigation involving alleged violations of RICO, the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Prior to emigrating to the U.S., Mr. Moreno served as In House counsel for two Latin American corporations conducting commercial, regulatory and litigation defense in many national and international matters.
A 1992 graduate of the University of Havana where he received his LL.B,
Law degree, Mr. Moreno also studied International Development Law in Rome, Italy, where classes were taught in French language, in the European civil law tradition. Mr. Moreno also served as a criminal trial lawyer for the Public Defenders Office in Havana where he defended many persons accused of crimes and tried many criminal cases to verdict.
Peter Kapitonov, a native of the Bronx and an attorney licensed in NY and NJ, manages the NJ practice of Musa-Obregon & Associates, concentrating in criminal defense and general immigration, including deportation.
A sergeant in the United States Marines, Mr. Kapitonov served in Fallujah in Operation Iraqi Freedom and participated in operations in the US and Japan.
A graduate of the famed Bronx High School of Science, Mr. Kapitonov went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in NY minoring in law, philosophy, and history. Dean-listed with
high honors at the New York Law School he graduated with Honors
cum laude and twice received the Alfred D. Lerner Schorlaship for "a veteran of the armed forces who demonstrates excellence in legal studies. " Mr. Kapitonov also served as In-House Counsel for a real estate holding company in NY handling residential and commercial disputes in court.
Wanting to fulfill his passion of defending people and serving the immigrant population, he joined Musa-Obregon & Associates. While in law school, Mr. Kapitonov interned for the Honorable Judge Richard L. Price of the Bronx Supreme Court and drafted judicial decisions for the judge and assisted in judicial proceedings including search warrant applications. During law school, he also interned at Appellate Advocates in NY drafting appeals for people convicted of serious felonies crimes.
Mr. Kapitonov who is fluent in Russian, has received numerous awards including a Certificate of Recognition from Senator Carl Andrews NYS Senate 2nd District, the NY State Assembly Certificate of Merit, the NYC Council Citation and various military awards and honors.
Eric M. Basterrechea
Mr. Basterrechea, a Senior Trial Lawyer at Musa-Obregon & Associates is admitted to the bars in New York, New Jersey and Florida.
A talented litigator, Mr. Basterrechea specializes in plaintiff's personal injury trials. A native of Miami, Mr. Basterrechea began practicing plaintiff's personal injury at prominent negligence firms in White Plains, NY. In White Plains, he worked primarily in plaintiff's personal injury litigation but also defended the government of Westchester County in dozens of bodily injury claims. He later practiced as a trial attorney for Allstate Insurance Company in Brooklyn, where he picked over 100 juries in accident cases and learned how insurance companies evaluate particular claims. His trials run from complex automobile accidents to slip/trip and fall to premises liability. In Miami, Florida, Mr. Basterrechea also worked on the insurance defense side as in-house counsel for State Farm Insurance Company.
Having practiced in both the plaintiff's side and defending insurance companies against plaintiffs claims, Mr. Basterrechea knows how to vigorously defend accident victims and anticipates the opposing insurance company lawyers' strategies and policies. This vast wealth of experience allows Mr. Basterrechea to mount an aggressive, calculated prosecution for each lawsuit he pursues. His knowledge of the jury selection process allows him to begin every trial with a solid jury that he can feel confident will award fair and just compensation for his clients. His ability to detect during trial whether a case should be resolved or tried to verdict has lead him to obtain numerous successful verdicts.
Prior to joining Musa-Obregon & Associates, Mr. Basterrechea was the head of his own law firm where he appeared in virtually every civil and supreme court in New York City. A 2004 graduate of Pace Law School, he was a member of the Pace Moot Court Team and received his certification in environmental law. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Rutgers University in 2001, majoring in Political Science. Mr. Basterrechea is an active member of the New York State Bar Association, the New Jersey Bar Association, the Brooklyn Bar Association, the Florida Bar, and the Cuban American Bar Association.
Fluent in Spanish, he enjoys Hispanic and American cinema and theatre, reading historical literature from Spanish, South American and Caribbean authors and learning about the historical works of European nations. An avid student of dramatic theatre, he also enjoys performance acting, stand-up comedy and films from all over the world.