Attorney Profiles: Musa Obregon & Associates
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.
Being involved with immigration law for more than 25 years, 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. in 1987, 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.
Benjamin Weisenberg is an immigration defense attorney. At Musa-Obregon & Associates, he practices at the formidable Varick Street Immigration Court in Manhattan, 26 Federal Plaza and 970 Broad Street in Newark. He earned his bachelor's degree from Ohio State University, graduating with a degree in criminology and sociology. After graduation, he decided to further his education at Capital University Law School, where he focused on criminal litigation and graduated with honors.
Before working at the firm, he interned at the United States Attorney office in Columbus, Ohio. There, he assisted in prosecuting environmental crime cases. Additionally, he worked as an Assistant City prosecutor at Whitehall Mayor's Court in Ohio. Mr. Weisenberg uses his strong background in criminal prosecution to create aggressive defense strategies for his clients in court today. During law school, he gained a valuable understanding of international law while studying conflict resolution and international law in Jerusalem, Israel and the Netherlands.
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.