Lynne Stewart, fighting cancer, still hopes for a revolution
NEW YORK — A once-prominent New York civil rights lawyer convicted of helping a terrorist client communicate with his followers is still battling the cancer that earned her compassionate release from prison over two years ago — and she is still as radical as ever, even expressing support for the killers of police officers.
Lynne Stewart, a 76-year-old great-grandmother, said in an interview with The Associated Press at her Brooklyn home that she is increasingly drained of energy by a disease that was projected to kill her at least six months ago.
“I still have serious, serious cancer,” a slow-moving Stewart said, accompanied by her equally outspoken husband, Ralph Poynter. “I have good days and bad days. I know I’m sick. I’m not what I was once.”
At the height of her legal career, the former schoolteacher represented clients who included Weather Underground radicals, cop killers and small-time criminals.
Now, she knows people are curious to find her alive, still supporting extremists whenever she can after being relieved of a sentence that once called for her incarceration until 2018.
“What is she doing? She’s still alive? You’re supposed to be dead!” she says, describing what some must think.
She was disbarred after a Manhattan jury convicted her of breaking strict rules meant to ensure a blind Egyptian sheik serving a life prison sentence in a plot to blow up New York City landmarks and kill Egypt’s president never communicated with the outside world. Sentenced to a decade in prison, she was freed on New Year’s Eve in 2013 after doctors concluded she had less than 18 months to live.
But the cancer has neither killed nor muzzled Stewart, a longtime believer in armed struggle as a way of fostering political revolution.
Asked about the recent ambush slayings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Stewart said of the gunmen, “They spoke for some of us when they did that.”
“They are avengers,” she said. “They are not brazen, crazed, you know, insane killers. They are avenging deaths that are never and have never been avenged since the ’60s and ’70s.”
Stewart said she believed that the murders had, at least briefly, acted as “a deterrent” against the killings of unarmed civilians by police.
Stewart said violence sometimes leads to societal change, allowing “the more peaceable shepherds among us to approach the wolf.” She said given the chance, she would tell the families of officers who are killed that “they enlisted in an army that maybe they never realized was put out there to ‘keep the peace’ for those who are very interested in maintaining things the way they are.”
Annemarie McAvoy, a former federal prosecutor, called Stewart’s remarks “really unbelievable.”
“It’s sad,” said McAvoy, who teaches about terrorist financing and money laundering at Columbia University. “She had such a lapse of judgment in helping known terrorists communicate with each other, which is why she was sent to jail. Obviously jail did not rehabilitate her thought process.”
Prosecutor drops case against man imprisoned for 2 decades
DURHAM, N.C. — A North Carolina prosecutor is dismissing the case against a man imprisoned for two decades before a judge threw out his murder convictions this week.
A judge vacated convictions and ordered Darryl Howard’s release Wednesday because of DNA evidence unavailable at Howard’s 1995 trial in the double-murder case.
The judge ruled DNA evidence shows Howard did not rape a woman and her teenage daughter. No other physical evidence connected him to the deaths.
The Durham District Attorney’s office filed dismissal paperwork Friday.
Howard’s case was originally handled by former prosecutor Mike Nifong, who was later disbarred for lying and misconduct in a case of rape accusations against Duke University lacrosse players who were later found innocent.
Innocence advocates are undertaking a massive review of convictions from Nifong’s tenure.
Disbarred attorney arrested on warrant after lawsuit
ORLANDO, Fla. — A disbarred attorney, whose clients have accused her of embezzling $1.5 million of their money, has been arrested after failing to come to a court hearing in a civil lawsuit against her.
Julie Kronhaus was arrested Tuesday after an Orange County judge ordered her arrest for not appearing at a May 18 hearing.
Two owners of a company that designs airplane interiors, Larry Heilbron and Terry Turner, have sued her, accusing her of keeping hundreds of thousands of dollars they owed to the Internal Revenue Service.
Several of Kronhaus’ other former clients have also filed lawsuits against her, but she has never been charged. She was permanently disbarred last year by the Florida Supreme Court.