Remembering Linda Stein

<i>Two years after the broker's murder, pretrial hearings begin</i>

Brokers call Linda Stein a “legend.”
Two full years after superbroker Linda Stein was found murdered in her Fifth Avenue apartment, her family and the New York real estate world are still waiting for the case to go to trial.

Thomas Giovanni, a defense attorney for Natavia Lowery — who worked as Stein’s assistant and stands accused of the murder — told The Real Deal that the trial was unlikely to start within the next few months.

That’s largely because Lowery’s legal team is still contending that police coerced her videotaped confession when she was arrested a week and a half after the murder.

Pretrial hearings, which began last month, have centered on whether evidence from psychologists about what Lowery’s defense team says was a false confession will be admissible during the trial.

Stein — a broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman who sold multimillion-dollar properties to celebrities like Billy Joel, Sting, Michael Douglas and Steven Spielberg — started her career as a punk-rock manager with bands including the Ramones.

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Many fellow brokers describe Stein as a legend who blended her personal and professional lives.

“I met her in Paris and she befriended me after my mother passed away, since she had also struggled with cancer,” said Yuval Greenblatt, an executive vice president with Elliman. “She got to know different kinds of people very well, which I think stemmed from her time in the entertainment industry.”

Last year, the judge on the case ruled that Lowery’s confession could be submitted as evidence at trial. However, the hearings taking place now are intended to determine whether to allow expert testimony about why people sometimes confess to crimes they haven’t committed.

According to a New York Law Journal article, judges in New York rarely admit false-confession expert testimony, and prosecutors often refer to it as “junk science.”

But in a motion requesting the hearing, Lowery’s lawyers wrote: “Since the prosecution’s case depends entirely on Ms. Lowery’s statement, precluding an expert from testifying on the subject of false confessions would deny Ms. Lowery her state and federal rights to a fair trial.”