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Faced 5+ Years in Prison

People Vs Joseph Amico

Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.

Faced 10+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Anna Sorokin

Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.

Faced 3+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Genevieve Sabourin

Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.

Faced Potential Charges

Ghislaine Maxwell Juror

Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.

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Meet Todd Spodek


The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.

In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.

Why Clients Choose Spodek Law Group

The reason is simple: clients want white glove service, and lawyers who can win. Every single client who works with the Spodek Law Group is aware that the attorney they hire could drastically change the outcome of their case. Hiring the Spodek Law Group means you’re taking your future seriously. Our lawyers handle cases nationwide, ranging from NYC to LA. Our philosophy is fair and simple: our nyc criminal lawyers only take on clients who we know will benefit from our services.

We’re selective about the clients we work with, and only take on cases we know align with our experience – and where we can make a difference. This is different from other law firms who are not invested in your success nor care about your outcome.

If you have a legal issue, call us for a consultation.
We are available 24/7, to help you with any – and all, challenges you face.

What Is A 5k1 Letter


What Is A 5K1 Letter?

A 5K1 letter is a letter written by federal prosecutors to recommend that a judge give a defendant who cooperated with the government a reduced sentence. It’s basically a “thank you” note from the prosecution to the judge for the defendant helping them out. Let’s break it down:

What does “5K1” mean?

The “5K1” part refers to Section 5K1.1 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines. This section allows prosecutors to file a motion asking the judge for a lower sentence if the defendant provided “substantial assistance” in investigating or prosecuting another person. So a 5K1 letter is referring to this specific section of the guidelines.

Who writes the 5K1 letter?

The letter is written by the prosecutors – usually the U.S. Attorney’s Office. They are the ones who worked directly with the defendant during the investigation and prosecution, so they are in the best position to talk about how helpful the defendant was.

What goes in the letter?

The letter describes the defendant’s cooperation and how it helped the government. This includes details like:

  • What information the defendant provided
  • Who the defendant helped investigate or prosecute
  • Whether the defendant testified at trial or grand jury
  • How useful and timely the assistance was
  • How much risk the defendant took to cooperate

Basically, it’s a chance for the prosecution to brag about all the ways the defendant helped them and argue why the judge should reduce the sentence.

What kinds of assistance warrant a 5K1 letter?

There’s no specific threshold for what counts as “substantial assistance.” It’s basically up to the discretion of the prosecutor. But in general, the more valuable and extensive the help, the more likely the defendant is to get a letter. Here are some examples of assistance that could earn a 5K1 letter:

  • Providing information that leads to new prosecutions or expands existing cases
  • Wearing a wire or recording conversations with other suspects
  • Testifying for the government at trial, grand jury, or other proceedings
  • Helping interpret evidence like coded language
  • Providing documents, records, or physical evidence
  • Identifying new suspects or targets
  • Going undercover
  • Translating conversations in a foreign language

Just providing some information usually isn’t enough – the help has to further the investigation substantially. And the more active the cooperation, the better.

When do prosecutors send a 5K1 letter?

The letter is sent to the judge right before the defendant’s sentencing. This allows the prosecutors to evaluate the full extent and usefulness of the defendant’s cooperation before writing the letter. Sending it earlier risks the defendant stopping cooperation after getting the letter. Prosecutors want to hold it over the defendant’s head to ensure continued assistance.

Can a judge ignore a 5K1 letter?

Yes, the letter is just a recommendation, not binding. But judges rarely ignore 5K1 letters. The prosecutors worked directly with the defendant, so they are in the best position to evaluate the assistance provided. Judges give great deference to 5K1 letters. But the judge decides how much of a sentence reduction is warranted – the letter just recommends a reduction in general.

What happens if you don’t get a 5K1 letter?

If prosecutors choose not to write a 5K1 letter, then there’s no direct way for the judge to reduce the sentence based on cooperation. But the defendant’s lawyer can still argue for a lower sentence by citing the attempted cooperation. The judge can consider cooperation as a mitigating factor under Section 3553(a) of the guidelines. But there’s no guarantee of a lower sentence like there is with a 5K1 letter.

Can a 5K1 letter reduce a mandatory minimum sentence?

Yes, but only if it cites Section 3553(e) of the guidelines. This section is what gives the judge authority to go below a statutory mandatory minimum. So prosecutors have to explicitly reference 3553(e) in the 5K1 letter for it to allow a reduction below a minimum. This doesn’t happen in every 5K1 letter.

What are the risks of seeking a 5K1 letter?

While a 5K1 letter can drastically reduce prison time, cooperating with the government comes with considerable risks, including:

  • Admitting to additional crimes: Defendants have to fully confess all criminal activity as part of cooperation, which prosecutors can use against them.
  • Retaliation: Cooperators are seen as snitches and often face retaliation from former co-conspirators and associates.
  • Ongoing cooperation: Defendants usually have to testify at multiple proceedings even after sentencing.
  • Dangerous assignments: Cooperators are often asked to wear wires, engage targets, or go undercover.

Cooperation also requires waiving many legal rights. And there’s always a chance prosecutors determine the assistance wasn’t substantial enough to warrant a 5K1 letter after all.

What’s the benefit of a 5K1 letter?

In exchange for all the risks and downsides, a 5K1 letter can substantially reduce prison time. While the reduction varies case-by-case, letters often result in sentences 50% lower than they would otherwise be. In some cases, defendants can avoid mandatory minimums or even prison altogether. So for defendants facing long sentences, cooperation can be worth the risks.

Can you negotiate the terms of cooperation?

Defense lawyers try to negotiate cooperation agreements with set terms up front. This includes the expected sentence reduction if the defendant provides the agreed upon assistance. But prosecutors resist putting specific sentence promises in writing. The letter itself tends to be vague.
Still, defense lawyers try to pin down expectations as much as possible and get reassurances about sentence reductions.

What should you do if you’re offered a chance to cooperate?

The decision is extremely high-stakes, so consult closely with your defense lawyer. Consider both the potential benefits and the serious risks. Make sure you understand exactly what cooperation will entail – it’s extensive. And know that there are still no guarantees in the end.
Don’t rush into anything based on prosecutor promises alone. But for substantial reductions in prison time, cooperation may be worth it.

Just make sure you enter the process with eyes wide open and protect yourself as much as possible by having an experienced lawyer to help negotiate.


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I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

~Fonder Brandon

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It was my good fortune to retain Spodek Law Group for representation for my legal needs. From the beginning, communication was prompt and thorough. Todd, Kenneth and Alex were the first people I worked with and they all made me, and my company Qumana skincare feel comfortable and confident that the team was going to work hard for me. Everything...

~A G

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After meeting with several law firms, I chose the Spodek Law Group not only for their professionalism and experience, but for the personal attention given to me right from the initial consultation. It is important to recognize how crucial having the right legal team is when faced with potentially life altering events that impact families and the lives of loved...

~George Cherubini

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