Attorneys B.J. Bernstein and Craig Gillen have been in the news a lot lately because of their involvement in the Bishop Eddie Long case. Both are accomplished lawyers having participated in high-profile cases that made national headlines; but who are they and where did they come from?
In 1984, Brenda Joy "B.J." Bernstein graduated from Emory University with a degree in History and then graduated in 1987 from the University of Georgia School of Law. After working six years as a prosecutor in Gwinnett County, she opened her own practice and now has over 22 years of legal experience. All four plaintiffs in the Bishop Long case are represented by Bernstein, a name you may have heard before. In 2007, Genarlow Wilson, a Douglas County resident, was convicted of aggravated child molestation after he was videotaped having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl. He was 17 at the time. After being sentenced to 10 years in prison, Bernstein took over the case and the state Supreme Court ruled that Wilson's sentence constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Genarlow served two years out of the 10-year sentence.
Bishop Eddie Long's legal counsel is headed by Craig Gillen, also working from Atlanta. Gillen graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1974 and from Emory Law School in 1976. He entered private practice in Atlanta in 1993. Gillen has over 30 years of experience in federal courts throughout the country; first as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Georgia, then as the Deputy Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra and finally as a criminal defense attorney. As a prosecutor, he sent U.S. Rep. Pat Swindall to prison and later became deputy independent counsel in the Iran-Contra investigation. He has also represented a number of high-profile criminal defendants including mobster Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonadro.
Neither Bernstein or Gillen are new to the spotlight, and their work on either side of the Bishop Long case will be scrutinized nationally.