Criminal Justice

Lawyer sentenced for slapping another lawyer outside courthouse

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Connecticut lawyer altercation screenshot

A Connecticut lawyer charged with third-degree assault for slapping another lawyer, which was caught on video, has received a suspended sentence after pleading no contest. Screenshot via News 12 Connecticut’s viewer video.

Updated: A Connecticut lawyer charged with third-degree assault for slapping another lawyer has received a suspended sentence after pleading no contest.

Naugatuck, Connecticut, lawyer Robert Serafinowicz, 44, was sentenced in Middletown, Connecticut, under a plea deal that called for a 364-day suspended jail sentence and two years of probation, the Connecticut Post reported Nov. 22.

During that time, Serafinowicz must continue mental health treatment and cannot threaten, assault or harass the lawyer he slapped.

Serafinowicz was charged for slapping lawyer Edward Gavin outside the Derby, Connecticut, courthouse Sept. 7, 2022. The slap was caught on video.

Serafinowicz told the ABA Journal in 2022 that his dispute with Gavin went back 10 years, and it concerned Gavin’s defense of a judge whom Serafinowicz had criticized. Serafinowicz was suspended for 120 days beginning in 2015 for his disparaging remarks about the judge.

Serafinowicz told the Journal that Gavin had been making snide remarks about the situation for years. Serafinowicz said he asked Gavin to apologize before he slapped him. In an audio clip, Serafinowicz can be heard saying, “No, I’m not calming down; this is all coming out, and everybody knows that. And I got a f- - -ing list. Do you want to talk s- - - in front of me now? Do you want to f- - -ing apologize?”

In a separate ethics case, Serafinowicz was suspended for 120 days, stayed after 10 days, beginning in 2017 for allegedly calling a forensic psychologist a “dangerous individual” and a “psychopath.” Serafinowicz was charged in November 2022 with second-degree stalking and second-degree harassment for an August 2022 incident involving the psychologist, according to the Connecticut Post.

Serafinowicz told the Journal on Monday that he pleaded no contest in the slapping case because he wanted to put the situation behind him. The mental health treatment that he must receive as part of the suspended sentence is for anger management, he said.

Asked whether he will plead no contest in the case involving the forensic psychologist, Serafinowicz replied, “I don’t know what the future holds there.”

Serafinowicz said he had hired the forensic psychologist on some of his cases about 10 years ago. But now, he thinks that he is “an absolute lunatic.”

The forensic psychologist is “a liberal zealot” who “had a problem because I am a Make America Great Again kind of guy,” Serafinowicz said.

“He became obsessed with me and would not stop harassing me,” Serafinowicz said of the forensic psychologist. “His conduct included meeting random women and telling them that I would date them.” Serafinowicz said the dating offers were meant to be helpful, “but I don’t want his help.”

Serafinowicz said he was winning acquittals for his clients while contending with the charges and said he has made a lot of enemies over the years.

“I don’t say this to be arrogant, please: I always win. Because I know what to try. I know how to evaluate the case. And I’m not going to try it if I don’t think I have a chance of winning it. My record can be put up against anybody’s,” he said.

Updated Nov. 27 at 11:08 a.m. to add comments by Robert Serafinowicz.

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