Friday, July 8, 2011
Alan Dershowitz rips Manhattan DA over sister-in-law's bike death: They're stonewalling us!
Legal giant Alan Dershowitz, whose cycling sister-in-law was killed by a postal truck, says the embattled Manhattan District Attorney's office is not cooperating with the grieving family.
The famed attorney fumed that prosecutors repeatedly ignored his requests that surveillance video of the accident be shown to the family - and in particular the victim's son, an expert in accident reconstruction.
"They have been stonewalling and foot-dragging and finding every excuse in the book," Alan Dershowitz told the Daily News Friday. "You'd think that is something they could so easily do to help us get some closure."
Marilyn Dershowitz, a retired Manhattan Supreme Court Special Referee, was cycling with her husband on W. 29th St. Saturday afternoon when she was struck by a postal truck and thrown to the pavement.
Dershowitz, 68, died a short time later at Bellevue Hospital.
"This was a wonderful, wonderful woman - a mother, a grandmother and a dear friend," Alan Dershowitz said. "Everyone in the family is very upset, frustrated, depressed and angry."
Witnesses at the scene told Marilyn's lawyer husband, Nathan, that the postal truck and another van tried to squeeze through a space in the traffic and one of the vehicles hit Marilyn Dershowitz.
The driver of the postal truck told police that he never saw the bicyclist, law enforcement sources said. He has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
The driver of the van has not been located, according to sources.
Investigators discovered a surveillance video nearby that recorded the accident. Alan Dershowitz said he asked every day this week - including Tuesday in the hours after Marilyn's funeral - to review the tape but has been rebuffed.
"We're not trying to second-guess them, we just want to see it for ourselves," he said. "The video is there - evidence doesn't just belong to the prosecution."
Dershowitz said DA Cy Vance - under fire after the collapse of the sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn - was gracious in a phone call but Assistant District Attorney William Beach has been giving him the run-around about the video.
"\[Beach\] always says "I'm too busy, I can't do it today,' and has an excuse," said Dershowitz, a Harvard Law Professor. "It's just not right. Come in five minutes early, stay five minutes late, or take five minutes out of lunch to make it happen."
Calls to William Beach were not returned.
A spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney's office declined comment.
Adam Dershowitz, the victim's son, works as aeronautics engineer in California and specializes in recreating the moments that lead up to an accident, the legal giant said.
"He could be of great use but they clearly have made up their mind not to let him see it," Alan Dershowitz said. "They've suggested that maybe they'll let us see the tape next week - after Adam flies home."
Alan Dershowitz added that the family is planning to offer a reward for anyone who saw the missing van. He said they also may sue to obtain the tape - but are not looking to engage in a legal battle over the fatal crash.
"We're not interested in money or victim judgements," he said. "And if it was an accident, we'll accept that."
"We just want to do know what happened."