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Benjamin Brafman

Benjamin Brafman
Born (1948-07-21) July 21, 1948 [1]
Brooklyn, New York[1]
Residence Lawrence, Nassau County, New York
Alma mater Brooklyn College
Ohio Northern Law School (J.D.)
New York University School of Law (LL.M.)
Occupation Attorney
Religion Jewish[2]

Benjamin "Ben" Brafman (born July 21, 1948)[1] is an American criminal defense attorney, the founder of the Manhattan-based firm Brafman & Associates, P.C..[3] Brafman is known for representing many high-profile defendants, including celebrities, accused Mafia members, and political figures.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
    • Sean "P. Diddy" Combs Illegal Gun and Bribery Charges 2.1
    • Plaxico Burress shooting 2.2
    • Dominique Strauss-Kahn 2.3
  • Personal life 3
  • References 4

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.[4][5]

Brafman received his J.D. with distinction from Ohio Northern University College of Law.[2][3] 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.[6]


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.[3]

Brafman's client list has included Jacob Arabo, James Patino (who was cleared of all charges in the death of Yusef Hawkins),[7] Peter Gatien,[2] Plaxico Burress, Michael Jackson,[8] Carl Kruger,[9] Charles Kushner,[10] Marvell Scott,[11] Sean Combs ("Puff Daddy"),[12] crime boss Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, online gambling figure Jay Cohen,[13] Dominique Strauss-Kahn,[4] Rabbi Menachem Youlus,[14] Dinesh D'Souza and high-profile civil rights attorney Sanford Rubenstein.[15]

Sean "P. Diddy" Combs Illegal Gun and Bribery Charges

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's legal skills produced a unanimous 'not guilty' verdict.[1][16][17][18]

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.[19][20] Burress pleaded guilty to a weapons charge and was sentenced to two years in prison.[21]

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

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,[22] 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.[23]

Brafman discussed his defense of Strauss-Kahn on Charlie Rose in February, 2012.[24]

Personal life

Brafman's family fled from Europe to Cuba on their way to the United States just before World War II.[4] Brafman is a practicing Orthodox Jew.[25]

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."[2] Brafman has lived in the Five Towns area of western Long Island since 1981.[3]

The couple has two grown children, Jennifer and David, and 14[26] grandchildren. His daughter lives in the Five Towns close to Brafman and his son lives in Israel, where Brafman travels often.[3]

Brafman's older brother Aaron is an Orthodox rabbi in Far Rockaway.[2]

Brafman is a "self-described 'short Jewish guy,'" standing no taller than five feet, six inches tall.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d "Benjamin Brafman". Cityfile. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Gordon, Meryl (January 12, 1998). "Little Big Man".  
  3. ^ a b c d e Amanda Mayo, Local High-Profile Defense Attorney Ben Brafman: "If you do Great Work, People will Start to Take Notice.", South Shore Standard (June 8, 2012).
  4. ^ a b c Levinson, Chaim (May 22, 2011). "Strauss-Kahn's lawyer to Haaretz: Former IMF chief will be acquitted".  
  5. ^ Amanda Mayo, Local High-Profile Defense Attorney Ben Brafman: "If you do Great Work, People will Start to Take Notice.", South Shore Standard (June 8, 2012).
  6. ^ "Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients". Ohio Northern University. Retrieved 22 Oct 2014. 
  7. ^ Eric Pace, Two More Trials Open in Slaying In Bensonhurst (November 20, 1990). New York Times.
  8. ^ Hoffman, Jan (February 12, 2004). "PUBLIC LIVES; A Savvy, Scrappy New York Lawyer for Jackson".  
  9. ^ "Crooked Carl Kruger wallowed in Albany's corrupt pork-barrel slush-fund ways", editorial, New York Daily News, March 13, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  10. ^ Horowitz, Craig, "Jim McGreevey and His Main Man", New York magazine, May 21, 2005. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  11. ^ Melissa Grace, Ex-sportscaster Marvell Scott admits 'inappropriate touching' in rape case involving 14-year-old (August 26, 2011), New York Daily News.
  12. ^ Ralph Gardner Jr., Puff Daddy's Fate Now Rests With a Spun and Rhymed Jury (March 19, 2001). New York Observer
  13. ^ SI Scorecard, Sports Illustrated (March 16, 1998),
  14. ^ Benjamin Weiser, Torah Fraud Earns Rabbi Prison Term, New York Times (October 11, 2012).
  15. ^ Alleged rape victim had consensual sex with Sanford Rubenstein twice
  16. ^ Finkelstein, Katherine E. (March 13, 2001). "Defense Calls Combs Trial 'Stupid' Case".  
  17. ^ Horowitz, Craig, "The Defense Rests -- Permanently", New York magazine, n.d. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  18. ^ Italiano, Laura, "Legal: Puffy's Pugilist", New York magazine, n.d. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
  19. ^ Macur, Juliet (November 30, 2008). "Burress Will Surrender to Authorities on Monday".  
  20. ^ Honan, Edith (August 3, 2009). "Burress indicted on weapons charges".  
  21. ^ Eligon, John (August 20, 2009). "Burress Will Receive 2-Year Prison Sentence".  
  22. ^ May 25,2011 letter from C. Vance to DS-K lawyers, Courthouse News. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
  23. ^ Bray, Chad, Michael Rothfeld and Tamer El-Ghobashy, “Judge Dismisses Charges Against Strauss-Kahn“, Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2011 3:13 P.M. EDT. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
  24. ^ Interview with Benjamin Brafman, PBS, February 8, 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
  25. ^ Brafman, Benjamin (November 9, 2007). "A Kristallnacht lesson for our generation". Jewish News of Greater Phoenix. 
  26. ^ i am his grandson
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