A psychiatrist who treated Peter Braunstein at Bellevue after the police arrested him for the October 21, 2005 sexual assault and kidnapping of a former colleague testified in court yesterday. Dr. Li-Wen Lee said that Braunstein, who is on trial for assault, kidnapping, said she believed he was exaggerating his symptoms. Lee also said that Braunstein has bipolar mood swings and a narcissistic personality disorder - not paranoid schizophrenia as a defense witness said - and that he stockpiled pills for a suicide attempt.

However, the defense attempted to show the jury that Lee's opinion might not be the strongest, by having her admit that her specialty was studying Parkinson's disease and that she had finished her psychiatric training in 2005. Braunstein's mental state is at the heart of the defense strategy: His lawyers argue that their client was a paranoid schizophrenic who didn't realize that his attack was wrong. Prosecutors, though, say Braunstein had planned the attack very carefully and was aware of his actions.

Naturally, having a psychiatrist on the stand gave the Daily News and Post the chance to have similar headlines: Fiend shrink rapped and Perv Pete Shrink Rapped. The Times had included this meta media moment from Tuesday's testimony:

[Prosecutor Maxine] Rosenthal suggested that he craved media attention and got it through his criminal behavior. “Are you aware that this defendant is planning to do an interview with ‘20/20?’ ” Ms. Rosenthal asked.

At that, one of Mr. Braunstein’s lawyers, Robert Gottlieb, jumped to his feet with an objection and the jury was ushered from the courtroom. “The fact that he’s besieged with reporters day in and day out doesn’t mean his reveling” in the attention, Mr. Gottlieb said. The papers had called his client “Perv Pete” and “fire fiend” day after day, Mr. Gottlieb cried, pacing the courtroom indignantly. “Anybody might want to correct that record.”

While Justice Thomas Farber suggested that he would allow Ms. Rosenthal to continue asking about Mr. Braunstein’s desire for attention, the subject was not raised again.