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Shapiro Withdraws as Stratos Counsel in Nicole Murphy Fraud Case

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Robert Shapiro, who defended O.J. Simpson in a murder trial, withdrew plans to represent Troy Stratos, who is accused of stealing $7 million from comedian Eddie Murphy’s ex-wife.

Shapiro withdrew his request to represent Stratos in a filing today in federal court in Los Angeles. The move came one day after Stratos asked the court for permission to add Shapiro and lawyer Sara Caplan to his defense team.

Shapiro and Caplan didn’t immediately return phone calls and e-mails on the matter. Stratos’s other lawyer, Walter Urban, didn’t immediately return a phone call.

Stratos, 45, was arrested on Dec. 20 and charged with mail fraud, money laundering, and obstruction of justice by federal prosecutors in Sacramento, California.

Stratos is accused of persuading Nicole Murphy, 44, to turn over more than $8 million of a divorce settlement, saying he would invest it in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, where she could earn more interest.

Instead, he transferred the money into personal accounts, according to an indictment unsealed on Dec. 20. He also urged Murphy to refinance two houses, one where her mother lived, and took that money, too, according to the indictment.

Stratos was denied bail after his arrest, according to court documents, and has been in custody since then. Before his arrest, he had been living in a rented penthouse apartment in Marina del Rey, California, according to court documents. The 3,848-square foot apartment with ocean views is for sale with an asking price of $3.95 million.

Shapiro defended O.J. Simpson when the former football star went to trial on charges of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Simpson was acquitted.

The case is USA v. Stratos, 2:11-mj-03007, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

To contact the reporter on this story: Anthony Effinger in Portland at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Serrill at

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