Lauren Pazienza (26), the New York woman accused of shoving an elderly woman into the street and causing her death, surrendered Tuesday to face manslaughter charges — and immediately hired a high-powered lawyer with a history of defending some of the most powerful men in Hollywood.
Pazienza was walked into Manhattan Criminal Court surrounded by security guards and refused to comment on the accusations. She was accompanied by lawyer Arthur Aidala, who represented movie mogul Harvey Weinstein when he was accused of sexual assault, and has represented other big names in the past.
Aidala wasted no time in complaining that Pazienza was being targeted for her "socioeconomic status."
From The New York Post:
Defense attorney Arthur Aidala claimed to the judge that "pushing someone who's on the sidewalk" isn't the same as "pushing someone in front of a cliff" or "pushing someone in front of a moving train" — as he accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office of "overcharging" his client.
"The DA goes out of their way to undercharge a case, and in this particular case they're overcharging," Aidala said in court, referring to Bragg's progressive policies.
Pazienza is accused of murdering 87-year-old Broadway voice coach Barbara Maier Gustern, pushing her in the street and causing a brain injury that led to her death days later.
Prosecutors say Pazienza hid in her parents' Long Island home on March 16 after deleting her social media accounts and wedding registry. After police visited her parents, who were uncooperative, Pazienza turned herself in to the NYPD the next day.
Her parents are expected to pay the $500,000 bail for her release pending trial.