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Peter Braunstein: Crazy, Yes. But, Insane?


Braunstein in an old NYPD mug shot.

In a move that shocks exactly no one, Peter Braunstein’s lawyer has declared his client crazy. The lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, filed papers yesterday stating that Braunstein “lacked criminal responsibility by reason of mental disease or defect,” according to today’s Post article. Braunstein is charged with kidnapping, burglary, robbery, and sexual abuse for tricking a former co-worker into letting him into her Chelsea apartment on Halloween, then chloroforming her and sexually assaulting her for hours.

But here’s the thing: Just because someone seems nuts doesn’t mean he’s legally insane. So we called bigshot defense attorney Ed Hayes — his clients range from the Mafia cops to Richard Johnson — for some perspective. Does he think this gambit will work?

This doesn’t sound like the act of a madman. He is obviously a very warped individual, but he did commit a fairly complicated criminal act, and he went and hid successfully for a long time. Of course, you can be sane or insane when you commit the crime, but subsequently the lawyer can say to the judge that he’s too crazy now to participate in the trial. But this guy’s just a rotten person. He’s not crazy — he’s just evil.

And that’s from a defense lawyer.

Doree Shafrir

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Peter Braunstein: Crazy, Yes. But, Insane?