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Hamptons Life

Jun 22, 2017 3:55 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Amagansett Home Of Late Legendary Attorney Myron Beldock Sells

45 Abrahams Landing Road in Amagansett. COURTESY DOUGLAS ELLIMAN
Jun 25, 2017 10:26 AM

Readers should know by now that while we like to report the real estate activity of bold-face names as much as the next media outlet, especially satisfying for us is if there is a good story behind the property. This puts some of the “real” in real estate. As Rod Serling used to say in the intro to “The Twilight Zone,” case in point: 45 Abrahams Landing Road in Amagansett, and Myron Beldock.

A first glance, nothing scintillating to report about the Abrahams Landing property. It’s a nice-enough spread, but it is just a half-acre and recently sold for $1,600,000 (to Brohaus LLC), which in Amagansett does not raise eyebrows. When a description includes “fully cleared backyard and two-car garage,” and that it “is waiting for the right buyer to unlock its hidden value,” one might not consider this a steal for the buyer.

But then there is Mr. Beldock. His life and career illustrated one of the best lines from “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” the classic 1939 film starring James Stewart: “Lost causes are the only causes worth fighting for.” Something remarkable about Mr. Beldock was that he turned a few of those lost causes into victories. Another case in point: One of the clients he represented was Rubin “Hurricane” Carter.

Born in March 1929, the son of a Brooklyn judge, Mr. Beldock earned a law degree from Harvard University and out of the gate began defending those with the odds stacked against them. In what the press dubbed the “Career Girl Murders,” a teenager, George Whitmore Jr., was arrested in 1964 for raping and murdering two young women. After being convicted and spending three years in jail, Mr. Whitmore was freed thanks to testimony Mr. Beldock elicited in his third trial that showed the defendant’s confession had been coerced and he was in fact in another state when the murders took place. A more recent case was that of a defendant in the Central Park Jogger beating and rape—eventually, the men were freed when another man confessed to the crime.

There were dozens of other cases like this one, with clients finding Mr. Beldock to be the lawyer of last resort, but his most famous one was Hurricane Carter. Mr. Carter, a boxer, and John Artis were arrested and convicted, in 1967, for a triple homicide and sent to prison. Mr. Beldock became involved in 1973. It was not until 1985 that a federal court overturned the convictions on the grounds of prosecutor misconduct. In the 2000 film “The Hurricane,” starring Denzel Washington, Mr. Beldock is portrayed by the veteran character actor David Paymer.

Mr. Beldock died in January 2016, at the age of 86. According to The New York Times, he was “a rumpled figure with an actor’s repertoire in court. He could fumble with papers at the defense table, shrug, feign forgetfulness, give the impression he had finished questioning a witness and then jump up with one more question—and start into a tigerish attack that was the heart of the matter.”

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