I. Dr Rudolph Baldeo appeared in Court on Wednesday, 04 October 2017. He had been served with an Order of Contempt by the contemptible Michael Chetkof and Allyson Burger. The judge, Hon. Stacy D. Bennett, was eminently fair and compassionate. Indeed, she registered in open court a unique concern with Dr Baldeo’s plight. If Judge Bennett continues to uphold the principles of Truth and Justice in the face of Chetkof and Burger’s pit bull tactics, a reasonable resolution might be within reach.
II. I must appear in Court on Tuesday, 10 October 2017, regarding the incident on 6 September 2017. A member of the UN High Commission on Human Rights has unexpectedly intervened in my case. He has expressed concern about my apparent “arbitrary arrest.” I was asked to describe what happened. Here’s my account (a few points have been omitted to protect the innocent):
1. I was arrested on 6 September 2017.
2. Two police detectives barged into my apartment at 11:30 p.m.
5. The detectives demanded that I sit on a rickety coffee table in my foyer that comes up to my kneecap. They wouldn’t let me sit on a chair.
6. I was handcuffed as I left my apartment building in order to humiliate me in front of my neighbors.
7. I was transported to a police precinct located fully one hour from where I live. I was handcuffed the entire trip and was in agonizing pain. (I am 64 years old.)
8. I was handcuffed to a pole for five hours in the police precinct while the detective filled out a single-paged form.
9. I was then thrown into an overcrowded jail cell and had to sleep on a stone floor. I asked for a blanket as I was freezing but the request was denied.
10. I was brought before a judge at 11:00 a.m.
11. I was served with an Order of Protection forbidding me to have any contact for one year with the two opposing lawyers, Michael Chetkof and Allyson Burger.
12. The police alleged that I was harassing Chetkof and Burger by constantly emailing them.
13. The allegation is a flat-out lie. Every email I sent to Chetkof and Burger and their colleagues had appended at the head:
Note: I am writing each of you in your private capacity and not as members of a law firm. If you want me to remove you from this ListServe, just email me and I will immediately oblige. (This formulation was recommended and approved by the ACLU to protect this writer from future claims of online harassment.)
14. If Chetkof and Burger didn’t want to receive my emails, they merely had to inform me, and I most certainly would have ceased writing them.
15. They had me arrested in order to intimidate me into silence.
16. This is not the first time Chetkof and Burger tried to intimidate me. When I informed them that I was writing an article to expose their racist shakedown of Dr Rudolph Baldeo, Chetkof threatened to “open Pandora’s Box” and destroy Dr Baldeo “Personally and Professionally” unless I desisted.
17. Because of the Order of Protection, I can no longer accompany Dr Baldeo to Court. They want to isolate him in Court so they can terrorize him into submission.
19. I must appear in Court again on 10 October 2017. It is possible that I will again be thrown into jail.
20. I am not afraid. My late parents survived five years in Hitler’s death camps. I will survive a Long Island jail cell.
21. I will not be browbeaten into abandoning Dr Baldeo in his Moment of Truth.
III. Yesterday (05 October), I sent the letter below to Chetkof and Burger’s law partners:
William B Saltzman and Lee Rosenberg,
You are perhaps aware that yesterday ‘s court hearing was not a banner day for Michael Chetkof and Allyson Burger. Hon. Stacy D. Bennett was eminently fair and compassionate. Indeed, Judge Bennett signaled in open court a unique solicitude for Dr Baldeo’s plight.
The tide has turned.
I have repeatedly warned you that you will never prevail against me. You do not possess my intelligence, integrity, courage, stamina, or conviction. But most important of all, I have arrayed in my arsenal the invincible weapons of Truth and Justice. That is why 3,000 people worldwide have signed the petition calling for the disbarment of Chetkof and Burger; that is why the UN High Commission on Human Rights has intervened; that is why an internationally renowned journalist is writing an article on this case (see attachment, cc’d to me this morning).
I have repeatedly warned you to settle this case before Chetkof and Burger drag you over the precipice with them. I of course want to resolve this matter so as to move beyond the sleazy, smarmy, sordid, squalid machinations of Long Island matrimonial lawyers. But it is literally inconceivable that I will abandon Dr Baldeo in his Moment of Truth. However long it takes, however much time it consumes, I will be at his side until and unless his dignity is restored. Dr Baldeo currently resides in his parents’ attic and all his belongings are stored in the boiler room, while his ex-wife demands $250 per month for her “beauty parlor,” $500 per month for her “beauty aids,” and $4550 per month for food. That will not stand! I was Dr Baldeo’s professor when he first came to the US penniless and labored as a shipping clerk. I watched in awe as this guileless and brilliant student, struggling and sweating (like Jewish immigrants of yore), climbed one by one each rung on the ladder of success. I was there at each of his graduations to celebrate his hard-won achievements. But—woe to that ghastly day!—I was also personally witness when all of Dr Baldeo’s life’s earnings were swiped from him in broad daylight by two thieving lawyers, who concocted the monstrous lie that he had committed “countless” acts of “unspeakable” violence against his wife over a quarter century. If this allegation contained even a jot of truth, why couldn’t Burger and Chetkof adduce a single document—a single police record, a single medical record, a single witness affidavit, a single counseling record—to corroborate it?
It is my understanding that Dr Baldeo will be writing you. He is ready to settle and get on with his life. I emphatically do not agree with his terms. Dr Baldeo is generous to an absurd fault, but that is his nature, naively forgiving and forgetting–it is also what makes him so endearing and admirable a human being.
You should think hard about where things are now headed as you contemplate your response to Dr Baldeo’s olive branch.
Professor Norman G Finkelstein
P.S. You should also advise the District Attorney that the UN High Commission on Human Rights is monitoring my case. The DA might decide it’s the better part of prudence to drop the charges now before I show up in court. It is surely cause for curiosity, not to say incredulity, how it came to pass that a 64-year-old professor was dragged at midnight from his apartment in Coney Island, Brooklyn in handcuffs, transported all the way to Hempstead Long Island an hour away, and held overnight in an overcrowded freezing cell where he had to sleep on a stone floor, on account of an email correspondence that he had offered on request to cease.
DON’T FORGET TO SIGN THE PETITION!