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Killer Seeks to Block Lawyer's Profits

New York's Son of Sam law, intended to keep criminals from profiting from their crimes by selling their stories, was named for serial killer David Berkowitz, who confessed to killing six people in New York in the 1970s. Now, Berkowitz is invoking that very law in the hopes of blocking his former lawyer from profiting from a book about the case.

The former lawyer, Hugo Harmatz, published a book in June 2005 titled "Dear David..." that uses letters written to Berkowitz by various people. According to Associated Press, when Berkowitz learned of the book, he filed suit in Manhattan seeking return of the letters. The report says:

"Berkowitz's current lawyer, Michael D. Heller, said Sunday that Berkowitz would not withdraw the suit unless Harmatz agreed not only to return Berkowitz's possessions but also to turn over any money he makes from 'exploiting' them to Berkowitz's surviving victims and the families of the ones he killed."

The New York Daily News reports today that efforts this week to settle the case broke down when Harmatz "balked at handing over profits from the self-published book." Harmatz, a lawyer in New Jersey, has said he was clear with Berkowitz about what he planned to do with the letters.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 23, 2006 at 02:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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