Prominent civil rights attorney Sanford Rubinstein (pictured) has reportedly withdrawn himself from police-choking victim Eric Garner $75 million lawsuit case against the city of New York because he has to focus on defending himself against a rape allegation, according to the New York Post.
In a statement made on Tuesday, the 70-year-old lawyer, who has yet to be arrested or charged for the allegation and has vehemently claimed his innocence, announced, “I will be stepping back from any role representing the family of police-choking victim Eric Garner so there are no distractions from the family’s fight for justice. Other highly capable attorneys will remain on the team representing the Garner family and will continue to press for justice and accountability.”
Garner, 43, a Long Island resident, died on July 17th, after the NYPD attempted to arrest him on charges of hawking cigarettes. Police wound up putting Garner in a chokehold and forcibly dragging him down to the pavement even though Garner kept alerting them to the fact that he could not breathe.
Rubinstein has an incredible track record for winning difficult civil rights cases, particularly police brutality ones like that of Abner Louima and the family of Sean Bell. Louima, who was savagely beaten and sodomized by the NYPD back in 1997, received a reported $8.7 million. Bell was an unarmed man who was gunned down by the NYPD the night before his wedding day back in 2006. Bell’s family received a reported $7 million.
Rubinstein is a longtime friend of Baptist minister and civil rights activist Al Sharpton. Rubinstein and his accuser, a 42-year-old executive at Sharpton’s National Action Network, reportedly went to his apartment after attending the civil rights activist’s 60th birthday celebration. The woman claims she was raped on the night she went to Rubinstein’s apartment and then awakened to find herself engaging in another sexual act with him the following day, according to a police source. Police investigators also suspect Rubinstein might have used an object to penetrate the woman.
The case is being treated as a third-degree rape because the alleged victim was incapable of consent. A police source told the New York Daily News that the woman was “a little drunk” when she left Sharpton’s party. The woman did tell police she remembered going to Rubinstein’s home but not giving her consent to have sex. Authorities are investigating whether the alleged victim was drugged.
The victim, who is reportedly a Black woman, sought treatment at a hospital, and according to a police source, was bleeding from her genitals. A rape kit was brought in for her as well.