WASHINGTON - Robert J. Giuffra Jr., who defended the brother of Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato in a mail-fraud case, is expected to be hired as the panel's next chief counsel.

Mr. Giuffra, 34, is a senior associate at Sullivan & Cromwell, a powerful New York law firm with a prominent banking practice.

The appointment is expected to be made next week, according to Washington and New York sources. A spokesman for Sen. D'Amato would only say the Senate Banking Committee "is going to have a statement about personnel changes next Tuesday."

Mr. Giuffra's experience includes work on bank and securities litigation and on white-collar crime, sources said. He did not return calls seeking comment.

When asked how Sen. D'Amato came to choose him for the committee post, one of the firm's lawyers cited Mr. Giuffra's defense of the senator's brother. "I suspect that is how his name first surfaced," this lawyer said.

Last year, Mr. Giuffra and another Sullivan lawyer, John Warden, represented Armand P. D'Amato on the successful appeal of his 1993 conviction on mail-fraud charges.

The original charges against the senator's brother involved $120,500 he was paid in the mid-1980s by Unisys Corp., a Long Island defense contractor. A two-year Senate Ethics Committee investigation cleared Sen. D'Amato of influence-peddling charges.

The government argued that Armand D'Amato engaged in mail fraud by billing Unisys for work he did not do, in an attempt to conceal that the company had hired him to provide access to the senator.

Mr. Giuffra also handled the successful appeal and second trial of E. Robert Wallach in the Wedtech case. His client was charged with using improper influence to win government contracts. Charges were dropped in the second trial.

Mr. Giuffra was a law clerk to Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist from 1988 to 1989. He also clerked for Judge Ralph Winter at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1987 to 1988.

He graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School and received his law degree from Yale University.

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