New York City’s Infamous “Slasher for Hire” Case

A criminal defense attorney who practices in the federal and state courts in New York City, Alexei Schacht also provides legal services in certain real estate transactions. In addition, he serves clients in the art world, as well as in the oil and gas industry. Alexei Schacht’s most notable successes, however, have taken place in the criminal courts, where his clients’ freedom is at stake.

One of Mr. Schacht’s more notorious cases involved Aleksander Vacaj, accused of hiring thugs to slash his ex-girlfriend’s face in Chinatown. The attack, in May 2008, was interrupted by an off-duty detective, who shot one of the two attackers dead, but the incident left Artemda Gjeli’s face terribly disfigured.

The victim accused Vacaj of hiring the attackers, and he stood trial for the crime in March of 2009. Weaknesses in the prosecution’s case began to appear when Gjeli met with them and changed elements of her story. Around the same time, diligent investigative work by Mr. Schacht uncovered activities she was involved in that cast serious doubt on her credibility. He announced that when she testified, he would question her about numerous allegations of criminal behavior on her part, including perjury, drug smuggling, and immigration fraud.

After consulting with her own attorney, Ms. Gjeli alerted the judge that she would exercise her Fifth Amendment rights and decline to testify either about her relationship with Vacaj or about the alleged attack. At that point, the prosecution, acknowledging that without her testimony it had no case, dropped all charges.

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