A Lawyer’s Deathbed Confession About a Sensational 1975 Kidnapping
“Being called homosexual then was much, much worse,” Orlando said in a recent telephone interview. It was 1976, and the subject of homosexuality was so taboo, he decided, that directly challenging the claim of an affair would be pointless.
Despite his story lacking logic or evidence, Mr Lynch, the particularly taciturn firefighter, was mesmerizing as a storyteller for four days on the witness stand. NYPD agents and FBI agents would contradict each other in recounting basic police work; Mr Lynch, whose story alleged a complex hoax, could not be triggered. “Does anyone else join you at the table?” Mr. Orlando asked Mr. Lynch about his first meeting with Mr. Bronfman. “No, sir,” replied Mr. Lynch, confirming a minor detail of his testimony. “We were at the bar.
In preparing for the trial, Mr. DeBlasio had planned to attack Mr. Lynch as “a monster who preyed on his weak-minded friend Dominic, forcing him under duress to aid in the most terrible crimes imaginable”. Then he saw Mr. Lynch at the stand.
“I can now look back after 50 years of career and 600 trials and say that among the thousands of witnesses I have observed, no one has come close to the magnificence of Mel Patrick Lynch,” DeBlasio wrote. “He was the Arturo Toscanini and Enrico Caruso of the witnesses. He turned a horror story into a lyrical dimension tragedy. The jurors were mesmerized. If they could, they would have exploded in applause and cried for a reminder.
Mr. Orlando agreed with this assessment. “He was a big liar, absolutely positive, and a sympathetic character,” Mr. Orlando said of Mr. Lynch.
Mr. Bronfman, on the other hand, looked at jurors like a man caught in a nightmare, fighting back tears and biting his nails at the bar. Following a torrent of accusations of secret sex escapes and plans to film pornography, the judge suspended proceedings, took Mr. Orlando aside, accused him of “disagreement” and Said he was “surprised” that Mr. Orlando did not object when the defense made “slanderous innuendos” about Mr. Bronfman.
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