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He came from a poor family in a rough neighborhood, where "getting pinched" by the NYPD was a part of life, as Sabatelli once described it.
He was skilled in boxing, having once won the Golden Gloves.
He excelled in school, due to his hard work. This earned him a scholarship to law school where he also performed well.
Aside from obtaining a judgeship, he was a successful author of crime novels. Many of them were translated into other languages.
Opinions of Sabatelli among his peers varied greatly, but were generally not positive. Captain James Deakins once described him as "rough around the edges", and fellow judge Peter Blakemore called him a "thug". Assistant District Attorney Ron Carver was one of the few people to speak positively of Sabatelli.
Blakemore and Sabatelli were both candidates for a seat on the Appellate Court. Sabatelli was incensed that the legal community wanted to see Blakemore gain the seat and not him, feeling that his hard work earned him the seat. This was unlike Blakemore, whom he felt gained his position due to his connections and wealth.
Sabatelli was arrested at One Police Plaza for conspiracy to commit the murder of Emily Trudeau. This happened once he was exposed as having knowledge of Trudeau's unreleased law review articles, which he should not have had. (CI:"Semi-Professional")