Lawyer makes deathbed confession about sensational kidnapping
Posted by News Express | 13 August 2021 | 22 times
Before dawn on Aug. 17, 1975, about 60 police officers and FBI agents charged into the New York City apartment of a fireman named Mel Patrick Lynch. The living room was dimly lit; its blinds were drawn. Lynch sat on the couch next to the unshaven, foul-smelling, bound and blindfolded 21-year-old scion of one of America’s richest families, Samuel Bronfman II, who had been missing for nine days.
Authorities arrested Lynch and an accomplice, Dominic Byrne. The men confessed to abducting Bronfman, describing the planning and execution of the crime and identifying the hiding spot of two garbage bags containing a $2.3 million ransom.
That seemed like the end of the drama. Actually, it was only a first act. The kidnapping trial turned out to have more narrative twists than the crime itself. Lynch and Byrne would be convicted of an extortion charge, but incredibly — after it seemed they had been caught red-handed — a jury pronounced them not guilty of kidnapping, a charge that could have put them in prison for life. They and their defense lawyers managed to convince jurors that there was, in fact, no kidnapping.
This miracle was pulled off in large part by Byrne’s attorney, Peter DeBlasio, who called the case “the greatest trial victory of my career.”
The Bronfman kidnapping is one of the stranger tales of New York’s criminal history, but over the following decades, hardly anyone had reason to recall the intricacies and mysteries — except DeBlasio. Even as he reveled in his triumph, he worried until the end of his life about what he had done to secure it.
DeBlasio’s mix of pride and unease combusted in July 2020, when he self-published a memoir, “Let Justice Be Done.” His book, which went largely unnoticed, reveals what he long told his two daughters was the secret of the Bronfman trial: His winning argument was premised on a lie — and he knew it.
It was effectively a deathbed confession. Just five months later, on Dec. 18, DeBlasio died of heart failure at 91.
• Source: New York Times: (Text, excluding headline)
•File:An aerial view of the Bronfman estate in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., home of Edgar Bronfman, patriarch of the family and chairman of the Seagram Company, recently
Source: News Express
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