While New York’s finest chase reporter-turned-“Fire Fiend” Peter Braunstein from strip club to strip club across the Midwest, we hear the depraved journo’s victim has been trying to wrest herself free from the latest crime story to grip the local tabs. Sources say a number of the city’s news outlets have recently received legal letters from Lynda Goldman, a high-powered attorney—and partner at pitbull entertainment lawyer Marty Singer’s firm, no less—whom the former W mag staffer has hired to keep her personal details out of the press.
Though Goldman would not specify which publications have been contacted, she confirmed that she was retained “to encourage the media to behave in a responsible manner so that this victim isn’t victimized further.” The former W staffer—whose identity, while known in media circles, has been kept out of print—has been keeping a low profile since the Halloween attack, when Braunstein, a onetime co-worker at the fashion glossy, reportedly gained access to her Chelsea apartment by masquerading as a fireman, knocked her out with chloroform, and tied her to a chair before sexually molesting her for 12 hours.
“I’ve been dealing with some issues because we’re very concerned about her privacy while this guy is still at large,” said Goldman. “It’s obviously very disturbing that he’s still out there and that he’s evaded the authorities for all this time, so any kind of identifying information that could lead him or other people to locate her is a major invasion of privacy that could put her life in jeopardy.”
Among the published details she finds particularly worrisome are where the victim works, where she lives, and even the name of her next-door neighbor, the attorney said. “And that’s not an inclusive list,” she added.
While some have speculated that the victim hired a lawyer to keep her own identity under wraps until she is prepared to go public in some remunerative fashion, Goldman insists that’s not the case. “I wasn’t retained because she’s working on a book or movie or any nonsense like that,” she said. “I was retained because she was concerned, as anyone would be in her circumstance, about her privacy and her safety.” She added, however, that her client might be interested in telling her side of the story “somewhere down the road when this guy is incarcerated.”
Goldman—who explained she was chosen to represent her client because the two women “share a mutual friend”—said although she herself relies on newspaper reports for developments in the case, she is frustrated by how much info the media-savvy Braunstein might be gleaning from the coverage.
“Some of the reporting I’ve seen just seems to me incredibly irresponsible,” she said. “If I’m reading a report in the press of somebody saying, ‘We just saw him at x location going to all these strip clubs,’ don’t you think that he reads the papers and says, ‘Oh, guess I better not go to any more strip clubs?’” Asked whether she had considered the possibility that police had planted those stories to flush Braunstein out, Goldman admitted, “I don’t know what law enforcement does during these situations, but as a citizen reading this stuff, it just strikes me as foolish.”