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Goldstein then walks over to his filing cabinet to double-check the paperwork.
"Well, I guess I'm mistaken," he admits, holding up a photocopy of a check made out to Hampton for $1,000. "We paid him this for helping us get his girlfriend to sign the release."
Not exactly a windfall for public humiliation.
Elena, for her part, says only that she agreed to take the money and sign the release because "it's something Hampton and I discussed and decided on." When asked if she regrets it, she answers without hesitation: "Oh, yes."
Rewind the tape, back to Goldstein's comments about how "whenever the law is involved, everybody gets screwed." There may not be anyone better to discuss that subject than Bobby Goldstein himself. The man's not only a lawyer, but just one year ago, he was the subject of an enormous lawsuit that cost him plenty.
Lynne Ginsburg nailed him for more than $100 million in a malpractice suit after he handled -- or, she claimed, mishandled -- her high-dollar divorce from former Chancellor Media mogul Scott Ginsburg. Along with charges of professional negligence, exorbitant fees, and stolen money and property, Lynne Ginsburg accused Goldstein, a married man with young children, of attempting to convert the attorney-client relationship into a sexual one.
She filed suit against her lawyer and applied for a restraining order, insisting that "Goldstein repeatedly told [her] that he loved her [and] could not make it through the day without hearing her voice." Court documents also claim that Goldstein also approached her about having his baby and suggested they enter into a contract where he would pay Ginsburg $1 million to bear his child. She claims Goldstein said they could "have sex as often as necessary." She also said Goldstein wanted to pick the name of the baby.
Goldstein writes off Ginsburg's allegations as nothing more than the products of his "colorful past." He claims he did indeed love Lynne, and that he thought they were great friends who understood each other. He adds only that "people can make some bad choices."
"She found some other lawyers," Goldstein says. "I won't use any other words but 'effective' to describe them, but they gave me what I can only call a Welcome to Prison Initiation."
Despite the exorbitant judgment, both Goldstein and Ginsburg's attorney say Goldstein ended up paying far less than $100 million. (The actual settlement amount remains sealed.) Still, Goldstein does admit the case damaged him personally and professionally.
He is also forthcoming about his 1989 conviction for securing and executing a document by deception, resulting in two years' probation.
However, Goldstein still insists on pleading his case, trying to split legal hairs. "I'm not a convicted felon," he says. "If you read the latest ruling on the case, it says clearly that judgment of guilt is set aside and the indictment is dismissed. People never put that in. The public only likes the dirty stuff."
Even Goldstein's detractors must admit the obvious: The man has balls made of bronze, and they are as big as his head. As the mastermind behind Cheaters, he risks not only potential litigation, but something far worse. After all, it's not out of the question to consider that disgruntled cheaters might up and decide to hunt down ol' J. Edgar.
Larry Friedman, Goldstein's "effective" legal nemesis in the Ginsburg case, acknowledges that Goldstein is skipping down "a potentially highly litigious path" with Cheaters. But that's scarcely the point, Friedman says, when you consider the danger in situations involving husbands and wives on the outs. Especially when the husband carries a gun.
"It takes a lot of courage, and Bobby's nothing if not courageous," Friedman says. "He's a risk-taker...I've spent years studying Bobby Goldstein, and I'll say one thing. He's one of a kind. And you can quote me on that, but that's where I'll leave it for now."
"I don't want to fuck anybody around," Goldstein says. "Not really...I'll say this in all sincerity: If truly it can be demonstrated to me there is no utility to Cheaters, and if it can be demonstrated to me that the harm always outweighs the good and that there is absolutely nothing beneficent about it, that it's evil and wicked, I'm telling you I wouldn't do it. If you see me doing it, let me know."
A few hours after Goldstein and Habeeb watched the videotape of the man with the gun, a private investigator named Danny Gomez calls. He's got bad news: Margie, the wife, has decided to bail out. Goldstein's horns begin to show. He's wringing his fists. He's steamed.
Goldstein barks into the phone, telling Gomez to remind his client she signed a contract. He then hangs up and exhales.
"I am empathetic," Goldstein insists. He sounds pained that his sincerity may be in doubt. "I know what she's going through. When one is in love or devoted to another and that person is not reciprocating, it is very, very tormenting. It causes a lot of angst and grief and anxiety. I'm not disappointed so much that these people think selfishly: me, me, me, me. I would expect them to feel that way. What I don't want to do, of course, is to give everybody a free walk. It costs me $6,000 to get this camera stuff together, to get these personnel together. It's a big investment."
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