My first thought upon hearing of Sunny von Bulow's death was of how distressed she would be to have become a household name. But some in her family decided to turn a medical tragedy into a legal nightmare. They accused her husband Claus of twice injecting her with insulin in an effort to cause her death and gain her wealth.
After he was convicted of attempted murder, Claus asked me to give the case a fresh view. My team of students and I hired some of the world's greatest medical experts to give a second hard look at the evidence. Their conclusion was unambiguous. Sunny's coma was self-induced. Claus' conviction was reversed, and he was acquitted.
The case was historic for several reasons. It was not only the beginning of gavel-to-gavel TV coverage; it was also the stimulus for shows like CSI and the popularization of forensic medicine. It introduced a generation of Americans to the reality that law cases are not won in the courtroom but rather in the lab and the field.
The tragedy is that these developments in the law, and in public understanding, had to come at the expense of Sunny von Bulow's privacy. I am pleased that the film made of the case, based on my book Reversal of Fortune, portrayed Sunny in a positive and dignified manner. May her privacy finally be restored.
Dershowitz defended Claus von Bulow at his appeal and helped obtain his acquittal