Jane Larkworthy, beauty editor of W magazine, testified yesterday in the sensational trial of her boyfriend Peter Braunstein. Lawyers for Braunstein are trying to argue that when Larkworthy dumped Braunstein, it sent him into a 2-year tailspin of depression and mental illness so severe that when he sexually attacked a co-worker on October 31, 2005 while holding her captive for 13 hours, he was just acting out a fantasy (and therefore, cannot be found guilty). The prosecution believes that Braunstein had planned the attack meticulously and was of sound mind at the time.
From the NY Times:
He would pretend to be a patient in a mental institution, and she would be a nurse. “I was a mean, manipulative nurse, and he’d be in his hospital bed,” she said.
They also played a game in which he pretended to make her unconscious by putting a rag over her mouth, she said, and in which he bound her arms with a scarf.
Some of the details are very similar those of the attack for which Mr. Braunstein is on trial.
Larkworthy also read aloud love letters she sent to Braunstein ("I can't wait to lock eyes with yours and feel your loving touch, and all that that means. It gives me such joy to be in love with you, Peter." ) and said of their early courtship, "He was incredibly charming. He was incredibly intelligent. And flirtatious. And very intriguing. And very funny." She revealed that she agreed to pose nude for Braunstein because he urged her to, and the photographs were later sent to her co-workers after they broke up and put up on websites. Apparently Braunstein had threatened her with a knife twice, one time taping her to a chair, and Larkworthy called the police who took Braunstein to Bellevue for observation.
Today, the Daily News reports that Braunstein's lawyers attempted to get Larkworthy to say her ex-lover was crazy, but the prosecution objected. And the Post and Daily News both have female columnists write about Larkworthy's first day of testimony: The Post's Andrea Peyser writes, "This sick love story all began in a very Manhattan kind of way - two people brought together by lust, humor. And a mutual human need for real estate." The Daily News' Jane Ridley thinks "Larkworthy deserves the most credit for holding her head so high."