Peter Braunstein: Better than Page Six

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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Peter Braunstein's lawyers may or may not succeed in convincing a jury that their client was out of his mind when he tied up and sexually abused a woman in October 2005, but it's safe to say no one will leave the courtroom thinking the "fire fiend" is a nice, well-adjusted guy.

In court today, spectators included a pack of high school students on a field trip and Braunstein's seersucker-clad father. They watched as the former Women's Wear Daily reporter repeatedly dozed off and whispered to himself as they waited for Jane Larkworthy, his ex-girlfriend and the focus of his obsessions, to take the stand.

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Braunstein's hand-scribbled notes found on a CD in his backpack were read into evidence, and the writings leave little doubt that, sane or not, he is filled with hateful and grandiose thoughts. In one passage, he compares himself to a modern-day Joan of Arc. In another, he rants, "Please label me deranged and insane ... all the great thinkers were crazy."

Then there's his recollection of snapping at a straphanger on the subway who looked at him askance: "That's right, drone. Go back to reading Page Six."



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