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Sunny von Bülow

Martha Sharp Crawford von Bülow, known as Sunny von Bülow (September 1, 1932 – December 6, 2008), was an American heiress and socialite. Her husband, Claus von Bülow (b. 1926), was convicted of attempting her murder by insulin overdose, but the conviction was overturned on appeal. A second trial found him not guilty, after experts opined that there was no insulin injection and that her symptoms were attributable to over-use of prescription drugs. The story was dramatized in the book and movie, Reversal of Fortune. Sunny von Bülow lived almost 28 years in a permanent vegetative state until her death in a New York nursing home on December 6, 2008.


  • Early life and marriages 1
  • History 2
    • KAZT-CD 2.1
  • 1980 incident and indictment 3
  • First trial 4
  • Appeal 5
  • Aftermath 6
  • Digital television 7
    • Digital channels 7.1
  • Books 8
  • Media portrayals 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Early life and marriages

Sunny was the only child of utilities magnate

Claus von Bülow hired Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz for his appeal. Dershowitz' campaign to acquit him was assisted by the then Harvard Law School student and later television personality Jim Cramer; Cramer admitted to himself then and later wrote publicly that von Bülow was "supremely guilty" of the crime.[15] Dershowitz and


The case attracted nationwide publicity in the United States. The trial began in February 1982. Evidence presented by the prosecution consisted of circumstantial evidence, imputation of financial motive, extensive testimony by various maids, including Maria Schrallhammer who was a prominent witness at both trials,[13] chauffeurs, doctors, and personal exercise trainers, a black bag with drugs, and a used syringe, reported to contain traces of insulin, found in Claus von Bülow's mansion. There was much evidence of excessive use of sedatives, vitamins, and other drugs by her, including testimony of alcohol and substance abuse problems. insulin. The jury was convinced and Claus von Bülow was convicted.

First trial

Because of the increased marital tensions between Claus and Sunny von Bülow in the fall of 1980, her children were suspicious that her brain injury was the result of foul play by him. Her two eldest children persuaded Richard H. Kuh, the former New York County District Attorney, to investigate the possibility Claus von Bülow had attempted the murder of their mother. After the gathering of evidence, Rhode Island prosecutors presented the case to a grand jury who returned an indictment, and in July 1981, he was charged with two counts of attempted murder.

On the evening of December 21, 1980, while celebrating Christmas with her family at their mansion, Clarendon Court, in Newport, Rhode Island, she again displayed confusion and uncoordination. She was put to bed by her family, but in the morning she was discovered lying on the bathroom floor, unconscious and unresponsive. She was taken to the hospital where it became clear that this time she had suffered severe enough brain injury to produce a persistent vegetative state. Although clinical features resembled a drug overdose, some of the laboratory evidence suggested hypoglycemia. The Court of Appeal ordered disclosure of the notes taken by the Auersperg children's attorney. These showed that Claus von Bülow did not want to terminate life support, as had been alleged.

1980 incident and indictment

On June 6, 1966, Sunny married Claus von Bülow, a former aide to oilman J. P. Getty, and they had a daughter, Cosima von Bülow, in 1967. By 1979, significant stresses and tensions had developed in their marriage, and both Sunny and Claus spoke openly about the possibility of a divorce.[5] On December 26, 1979, after the family had come together for Christmas at their Newport, Rhode Island mansion, she was found unresponsive and was rushed to the hospital where she slipped into coma but was revived. After days of testing, doctors determined the coma was the result of low blood sugar and diagnosed her as hypoglycemic, warning her against overindulging on sweets or going too long without eating.[7] While no foul play was suspected at the time, Claus von Bülow was later accused of causing this incident by injecting her with insulin.[9] In April 1980, she was again hospitalized after appearing incoherent and disoriented; their doctors reconfirmed she suffered from "reactive hypoglycemia". She was advised to maintain control of the hypoglycemia by following a strict diet, limiting her sugar intake, and avoiding alcohol.[11]

Martha "Sunny" Crawford married Alfred Eduard Friedrich Vincenz Martin Maria von). The Auerspergs were divorced in 1965. At this time, Sunny's net worth was over $75 million. Alfred died in 1992 after lingering in an irreversible coma for nine years following a 1983 car accident in Austria.[3]

Her mother, the daughter of the founder of the International Shoe Company, later married Russell Aitken, a sculptor and writer. [2] Upon her father's death, when she was four years old, she inherited a reported US$100 million.[3] for which she was known as "Choo-Choo" as a child before being nicknamed "Sunny" because of her nature.[2], to New York,Hot Springs, Virginia) and his wife Annie-Laurie Warmack. She was born on her father's personal railway carriage, en route from [1]
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