A champ for all people, Momot will be missed
May 01, 2018 3:00 AM
by Mark Mayer
If there was ever a defense attorney you wanted on your side, it was John Momot. Now he will represent his new clients from heaven.
“His new address now is goldengates.com,” said Gene Kilroy, a longtime friend and Muhammad Ali’s former business partner who first met Momot back in 1978. “John always had time for the poor and depressed.”
The 74-year-old Momot passed away at a hospital in Orange County, California. He suffered from a terminal lung disease for years and was remembered in a ceremony held this past Sunday here in Las Vegas.
“John grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey as did boxer Chuck Wepner,” Kilroy said. “I related to him with my Philly and boxing background. “John will now get you a line pass to heaven. Look up the words pro bono and you will see his picture.”
Momot was a defender of the little guy, but he gained major notoriety for representing Sandra Murphy in the Ted Binion trial – one of the most celebrated trials in Las Vegas history. But his generosity is what John is best remembered for by his friends.
“I recall an Irish grandmother heard of John having a sister, who was a nun,” Kilroy said. “She had a grandson who didn’t know his father and his mother abandoned him as a baby. The boy was raised by his grandmother and at the age 18 he got into a lot of trouble and was arrested.
“She came crying to see John. He represented the boy and was able to get the judge to send the boy to boot camp so he would not have a police record or go to jail. I asked John whatever happened to the boy. He said he is a captain in the army and just served his second stint in Kuwait. He bought his grandmother a new home in Las Vegas.”
Momot served as a captain in the U.S. Army during the height of the Vietnam War. Licensed to practice law in 1974, he had many high-profile clients over the years and played the role of an attorney in the famed 1995 Martin Scorsese film “Casino,” filmed in Las Vegas.
“I remember when we lost Ali two years ago and then two weeks later my brother died,” Kilroy recalled. “I was very close to John’s brother Joe, and said I wanted to adopt Joe as my brother and John wouldn’t have to do the paperwork. John impressed everyone who had contact with him. He took care of family, friends and anyone in need of help. He always bragged about his wife Dolly and brother Joe being the candles in his life.
“John made sure we left planet earth a lot better than he found it,” Kilroy continued. “When you have a friend and he passes you always remember the first and last words. He will represent us in heaven. May he rest in peace.”