Police investigate rape claim against attorney

 By Colleen Long

Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — An attorney known for handling police brutality allegations is being investigated by detectives after a woman accused him of rape following the Rev. Al Sharpton’s 60th birthday party, two law enforcement officials said last week.
The woman said the attack happened when she went back to Sanford Rubenstein’s Manhattan apartment, the officials said. Investigators were searching Rubenstein’s apartment, removing a mattress and several other evidence bags.

Rubenstein’s lawyer said in a statement that his client denies any criminal conduct.

“Mr. Rubenstein is one of the city’s most successful and respected attorneys,” Benjamin Brafman said. “He denies any criminal conduct whatsoever in connection with this matter and we are confident that when the investigation is completed, it will be closed without the filing of any criminal charges.”

The two officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. A New York Police Department spokesman confirmed that Rubenstein was being investigated but would not comment further.

Sharpton’s civil rights group, the National Action Network, hosted the birthday party at The Four Seasons Restaurant. Aretha Franklin, Spike Lee, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio were among the guests.

The media-savvy Rubenstein represents the family of Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a chokehold during an arrest in July. The case sparked protests and calls for change within the police department.

Rubenstein is a member of the National Action Network and has often stood arm-in-arm with Sharpton at protests. Sharpton met with Garner’s family and said he would discuss the Garner investigation at a planned rally.

Sharpton issued a statement saying he was aware of the allegations.

“National Action Network and Rev. Al Sharpton has not been notified or advised by any official investigating authorities,” the statement read. “The allegations as reported occurred at a private residence after a NAN event and had nothing to do with NAN nor Rev. Al Sharpton, therefore we have no comment at this time.”