July 21, 1948 |
Brooklyn, New York
|Residence||Lawrence, Nassau County, New York|
|Alma mater||Brooklyn College
Ohio Northern University College of Law
New York University School of Law
Benjamin "Ben" Brafman (born July 21, 1948) is an American criminal defense attorney, the founder of the Manhattan-based firm Brafman & Associates, P.C.. Brafman is known for representing many high-profile defendants, including celebrities, accused Mafia members, and political figures.
Early life and education
Brafman grew up in Brooklyn and Belle Harbor, Queens, and was the son of Holocaust survivors. He went to a yeshiva high school and took night classes at Brooklyn College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in anthropology.
Brafman received his J.D. with distinction from Ohio Northern University College of Law. He also has an LL.M. from New York University School of Law. In May 2014 Brafman was awarded an honorary degree by Ohio Northern University College of Law.
After graduating from law school, Brafman worked for a criminal defense firm for two years, then became an Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. In 1980, Brafman started his own law firm in Manhattan.
Brafman has represented a number of notable figures, including Jacob Arabo, James Patino (who was cleared of all charges in the death of Yusef Hawkins), Peter Gatien, Plaxico Burress, Michael Jackson, Carl Kruger, Charles Kushner, Marvell Scott, Sean Combs ("Puff Daddy"), Mafia boss Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, online gambling figure Jay Cohen, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Rabbi Menachem Youlus, political pundit Dinesh D'Souza, high-profile attorney Sanford Rubenstein, and Martin Shkreli.
Sean "P. Diddy" Combs trial
Brafman's profile rose following his winning the acquittal of Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, who was acquitted from his 1999 illegal weapons and bribery charges. The criminal charges stemmed from a nightclub brawl, while accompanied by then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez and Combs' usual entourage, and witnessed by over 100 other people. Despite the numerous prosecution witnesses to Combs' culpability, and Combs' fame, Brafman produced a unanimous 'not guilty' verdict.
Plaxico Burress shooting
On November 30, 2008, Brafman was hired to represent NFL star Plaxico Burress who on August 3, 2009 was indicted on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon and one count of reckless endangerment. Burress pleaded guilty to a weapons charge and was sentenced to two years in prison.
In 2011, Brafman represented former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a sexual assault case involving a member of the housekeeping staff of an upscale New York City hotel. Brafman and Strauss-Kahn's other lawyer, William W. Taylor, III, of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, gained first a recommendation that charges be dropped from New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance, and then charges dropped by New York State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus.
His wife Lynda is a librarian. The Brafmans lived in a "cramped Forest Hills apartment" early in their marriage and, by 1998, lived in an "enormous Long Island brick mansion." Brafman has lived in the Five Towns area of western Long Island since 1981.
The couple has two grown children, Jennifer and David, and a number of grandchildren. His daughter lives in the Five Towns close to Brafman and his son lives in Israel, where Brafman travels often.
Brafman is a "self-described 'short Jewish guy,'" standing no taller than five feet, six inches tall.
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