LAWYERS AND THIEVES by Roy & Bill Thomas Grutman


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Amusing grab-bag of cases handled or witnessed or overheard by Grutman, a flamboyant New York lawyer who has spoken for the famous, the infamous, and the never famous. The title tells all. Grutman's cynicism circles the whole compass of the law, from ambulance-chasing to slander to negligence to the Supreme Court. He finds that judges are usually poor, second, grade lawyers who settle for low income and the right to role like Napoleons, and quotes the revered Justice Learned Hand shortly before his death in 1961: ""As far as I'm concerned, I've spent my life shoveling smoke."" Going by Grutman, a legal shingle is a license to gouge, using smoke, mirrors, and mumbo jumbo: "". . .[T]he law is not a search for troth, it's a search for clients. . ."" One of his more bizarre stories tells of one of his earliest employers, Burton Pugach, a Bronx personal. injury lawyer with an outsized sex drive who delighted in photographing his female clients undraped and thought nothing of rigging a case with false evidence for bilking insurance companies. Pugach at last served 14 years for blinding his mistress in one eye by having acid thrown in her face; she later pleaded for his parole and married him. Grutman got Henry Kissinger to dismiss a suit against Penthouse for publishing an interview with him that he thought had been for a book. He defended publisher Bob Guccione in an Atlanta obscenity suit by invoking the local jury's hatred of the Catholic church, thus freeing Atlantans to flock to Guccione's porno film, Caligula In a damage suit between Penthouse and Playboy, Judge Thomas P. Griesa, ""an insecure bully and one of the most reversed judges in America,"" threw the case out of court after Playboy lawyers complained that Grutman had once let Griesa drive his Bentley (though Griesa made a lesser cause the excuse). Grutman also defended Rev. Jerry Falwell in a defamation suit against Hustler, and later became involved in the Falwell/Jim and Tammy Bakker-PTL dust-up. Some padding and less-than-convincing moments, but should do well.

Pub Date: June 27th, 1990
Publisher: Simon & Schuster