The trial of Peter Braunstein reached another pinnacle of weirdness as some new revelations were made. First, the defense team of the journalist, accused of the sexual assault, kidnapping, burglary and more of a former co-worker at Women's Wear Daily, argued that certain passages from Braunstein's diary - or "personal manifesto," as he called it - shouldn't be read to the jury. The prosecutors, though, wanted to get all the mentions of "serial killer David "Son of Sam'' Berkowitz, fictional cannibal Hannibal Lecter, the Columbine massacre, and a quote from the Notorious B.I.G. about killing" (per the AP) out there. However, the judge did not allow mentions of those folks, plus Gianni Versace's murderer Andrew Cunanan, while he did allow the prosecution to present Braunstein's journal entry about killing Vogue editor Anna Wintour. What?
Yes, Braunstein wanted to kill Anna Wintour, though not shoot because that would be "impersonal." He wrote, "I'm going to kill Anna Wintour because I feel like it." Judge Thomas Farber allowed the killing-Wintour mention because, according to the NY Times, "it fit into the context of his rage against the fashion industry." The Daily News suggests that Braunstein was still upset that he was fired from his WWD job because caused a commotion when he only received one ticket to the Vogue Fashion Awards while the Post excerpted another Wintour-related part of his manifesto:
"When I was a media reporter, there were many high-profile editors, and God knows they had big egos, but you could still get them on the phone," Braunstein wrote in a section of the manifesto read to jurors by the defense last week.
"Remnick, Carter, Fuller, even Martha Stewart. But Wintour? She just never talked to peons like us," wrote Braunstein, a former fashion media critic for Women's Wear Daily.
"It was beneath her. And all the while I'm thinking, 'Who is this skank?' She plays up this aristocratic, Marie Antoinette 'Let them eat cake' routine, but, excuse me, can I get some proof that she holds a title of nobility that goes back to the 13th century? No. All she does is edit a magazine. That's it. So what's with the royalty routine? . . . I mean, for Christ's sake, the woman slept with Bob Marley, one of the most soulful people ever to walk the face of the earth. If that didn't spiritualize her, nothing would.
"Wintour will be escorted by eunuchs to a place in hell run entirely by large rats."
Braunstein's mental state has been at the center of the trial. The defense, which doesn't deny that he committed the attack, says that Braunstein is so mentally ill that he didn't know what he was doing was wrong. The prosecution believes that he planned the attack very carefully and was aware of his actions.
Defense witness psychologist Barbara Kirwin testified that Braunstein is "the most textbook case of paranoid schizophrenia" she had ever seen and described his stability in context of relationships and jobs. Kirwin, who admitted to prosecutors that she had only interviewed Braunstein and not his family or past girlfriends or ex-wife, will continue her testimony today.