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Defense attorney finds release in fiction writing
Saturday, March 16,2013

HAMILTON — Famed attorney Jerome Ballarotto tells a tale of a slick young secret service agent, Jake, who gets caught up in an international counterfeit case, sending him from Las Vegas to Cuba, to uncover classified information.
Nope, this is not the veteran white collar defense attorney’s latest client, it is the brainchild for his newest book, “
Worthy of Trust and Confidence.”
Ballarotto, who has spent recent months in the spotlight for defending some of New Jersey’s highest profile clients on corruption charges, recently released the fiction suspense type thriller.
“The main story is about a young ItalianAmerican Secret Service agent, who wears cowboy boots, and who joined the Secret Service at a time when there’s turmoil in the Secret Service in America…he’s a college educated kid with no real law enforcement experience,” said
The lawyer, who is also a former Secret Service agent and loves to wear cowboy boots, has handled such recent cases as defending former Toms River Superintendent Michael Ritacco, who pleaded guilty of tax evasion, and former Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo, who was convicted for corruption and bribe charges last year and sentenced to 38 months in prison on Wednesday.
Ballarotto insists the book is completely fiction, denying any association to his own life or the lives of others he has met along the way. “It’s a lot more fun not to be restrained by the truth, that’s why I’m a defense attorney.”
He insists that the book is not anyway related to his experiences as a Secret Service agent or as a lawyer, deciding to pen his first work of fiction to achieve another goal in his life. Admittedly, it took the newbie author a couple of years to complete the project.
“I tell everybody it’s 140,000 words written 140,000 times.It took me an eternity to write (because) editors are the bane of my existence,” he said during a recent interview with The Trentonian. “Editors are like a jealous mistress, you just can’t please them.”
The story, which begins in the summer of 1963 and leads up to the Nov. 22, 1963 assassination of John F Kennedy, gives
Ballarotto a chance to chime in on the incidents which lead to that historic day in Dallas. “I was just a child at the time and I couldn’t live through it, I had something to say about that time, so I wrote a novel,” he said.
The book, according to the author, dwells into the theory behind the 35th President’s assassination and the possible involvement of Cuba’s leader Fidel Castro. The reader is taken through a series of events that begin in Las Vegas, includes a hot steamy infatuation with an equally hot and steamy red head, and leaves you hanging onto every word, hours before the president is shot in broad daylight.
“My hopes for the book is that people will pick it up and say this is a lot of fun,” he said. “ It’s a little rough, there’s a lot of guys that I know who remind me of guys in the book, they talk rough, they use rough language…this book is not for teenagers.”
The author was born in Trenton and moved to Newark when he was young. Although he insists the book is in no way an autobiography, the main character is based out of Newark and portrays very similar characteristics to the famed attorney.
The gritty book starts with a gentle reminder that those who read should not confuse fact with fiction “The novel suggests an interpretation of a historic episode that is shrouded in more mystery and is the subject of more debates than probably any other single event in history of the United States,”
Ballarotto states in the foreword.
“While I have alluded to some actual historical episodes, their conduct is a product of my own alternative and hypothetical theories on the assignation of President John F. Kennedy. Any similarity to other persons, living or dead, or actual events are purely coincidental.”