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Hard bargain: Slope-crash victims’ families would refuse plea deal with driver, lawyer claims

No deal: Attorney David Jacobs said it is too soon to strike a plea agreement with prosecutors on behalf of his client Dorothy Bruns, who faces felony charges for killing two kids while behind the wheel in Park Slope, claiming the childrens' parents would never want to compromise so shortly after the tragic incident.
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It’s too soon to seek a plea deal for the driver facing up to 15 years in prison for hitting and killing two kids on a Park Slope street, because the deceased youngsters’ parents would never accept a reasonable bargain just months after losing their children, defendant Dorothy Bruns’s attorney told a judge on Wednesday.

“The judge wanted to know if we’re discussing a plea and I told him we’re far from it,” said David Jacobs. “It’s too raw for the parents to even think about that, they’re in too much pain.”

Jacobs and his client returned to Supreme Court for a pre-trial hearing, during which Justice Danny Chun asked if a plea deal was in the works, according to the attorney, who afterwards told the Brooklyn Paper that prosecutors always consider the wishes of next of kin in cases involving the death of a family member — especially in high-profile suits like that of his client, who faces reckless-manslaughter and other felony charges related to the deadly crash at Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue that killed 1-year-old Joshua Lew and 4-year-old Abigail Blumenstein in March.

“With any death, or any homicide of whatever degree, they don’t want any negative press, or feedback,” Jacobs said. “It’s a matter of good public relations.”

The lawyer claimed he’s watched past plea deals fall apart after a family member refused to endorse prosecutors’ offer, and is consequently preparing to argue Bruns’s case before the bench, he said.

“I’ve had it go to trial because one out of four siblings of a deceased person disagreed vehemently, and the DA told me she can’t work out a plea,” Jacobs said. “We’re proceeding as if we’re having a trial.”

Prosecutors accused the Staten Island mother of knowingly ignoring doctors’ orders on March 5 when she climbed behind the wheel of her Volvo sedan despite a history of violent seizures — a condition that they argue directly resulted in her killing the children and injuring three others, including Blumenstein’s then-pregnant mother, Tony Award–winning actress Ruthie Ann Miles, who months later lost her unborn baby as a result of her injuries.

Bruns, who has yet to make bail, is currently locked up on Rikers Island, but separated from the jail’s general population because another inmate socked her in the face shortly after she arrived in June, according to Jacobs.

And with no trial date set and her next October hearing more than a month away, Bruns is unlikely to get her day in court until sometime next year.

A spokesman for the district attorney’s office declined to comment regarding a potential plea deal.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 7:19 pm, August 22, 2018
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