Sister-in-Law of Alan Dershowitz Killed by Mail Truck in Chelsea

By Tom Liddy on July 2, 2011 5:33pm | Updated on July 4, 2011 11:41am

By Tom Liddy, Paul Lomax and Tim Gorta

DNAinfo

MANHATTAN — The sister-in-law of famed legal eagle Alan Dershowitz and a former Manhattan Supreme Court referee was mowed down by a mail truck in Chelsea Saturday afternoon in a hit-and-run, police and distraught family said.

Marilyn Dershowitz, 68, of Tudor City, was riding with her husband on 29th Street on a silver mountain bike around noon when she was hit by the truck, police said.

"I was ahead," her devastated husband Nathan, told DNAinfo. "She waited for the light and I made the light and was riding slowly. When she didn’t come, I saw her down and people around her.

"She was in bad shape."

Nathan Dershowitz, a lawyer like his Harvard professor brother, said two vehicles were trying to squeeze through a narrow space in the street when the accident happened.

Cops said that his wife was going along with traffic at the time.

According to police, preliminary indications were that the driver of the mail truck appeared to be unaware of the collision. There were no immediate indications of criminality.

But Nathan Dershowitz said he believed "the mail truck must have seen her," he said.

His wife, who suffered severe head trauma, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Family members said that Dershowitz was wearing a helmet, which had to be cut off by medics.

One law enforcement source said the driver, a postal employee for 24 years, was trying to avoid a car on his left and smacked into the bike, which was on his right.

"He heard a thump, but he thought he hit a bump or a crate.  At one point, he thought the car hit him," the source said.

"He leaves the area and continues on his job."

The 7-ton truck, which was likely going between post offices, was ID'd through surveillance cameras in the area, and the driver was tracked down.

It was not clear if there were any charges forthcoming.

Marilyn Dershowitz, a lawyer, was first appointed a court referee — akin to a judge — in 1998 after clerking for Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lewis Friedman, according to a published report.

Alan Dershowitz.
Alan Dershowitz.
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Scott Gries/Getty Images

Years later, she acted as the referee in the divorce case between Cordula Bartha and Dr. Nicholas Bartha, the physician who blew up his Upper East Side townhouse in 2006 in a spectacular suicide attempt.

Dershowitz reportedly awarded Bartha's wife $1.2 million in the 2001 split, but let him keep the E. 62nd Street home.

She also acted as the referee in the 2003 divorce case between therapist Kathryn Faughey and her ex-husband, Adam, according to the Daily News.

Faughey was viciously stabbed to death by a crazed David Tarloff at her office on the Upper East Side in 2008.

Most recently, Dershowitz had been doing mediation at the appellate level, her husband said.

In 2009, Nathan Dershowitz and his brother who counted among his clients O.J. Simpson, Mike Tyson and Leona Helmsley — represented Mazoltuv Borukhova, a Queens doctor who was convicted of hiring her cousin to kill her husband, in their appeal.

Dershowitz's death stunned those who knew her.

"She was lovely lady and they were a lovely couple," said Virgil Wilken, 53, a doorman at the victim's building. "She will be sorely missed. She was a big part of the community. She’s very generous to all the staff. She was always happy.

Wilken has known the family for 11 years.

"It's dangerous riding bikes out there, especially downtown. There's a lot of hit-and-run accidents."

Tom Boyle, a spokesman for the Postal Inspectors, said: "The postal police, along with the NYPD are continuing to investigate this matter to determine the culpability of the driver."

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