Behind every great scandal there’s a great crush of lawyers, movie and TV producers, literary agents, media consultants, editors, and reporters-all vying for the bucks, the story, and the glory. Here’s a guide to key players in the current scandal arena. Leslie Abramson Lawyer Credits: Since California reinstated the death penalty in 1977, she’s made capital cases her specialty. Claim to fame: She became a Court TV star as the powerhouse defender of Erik Menendez. Lowdown: Abramson acted as a TV booking agent for jurors sympathetic to the defense. She reportedly has also threatened to compete with two upcoming Menendez TV movies by scheduling an Erik Menendez interview on a rival network. Defining detail: She read Tales From the Crypt comics as a young girl.
Paul Erickson Lawyer Credits: New to the scandal game, Erickson previously managed Pat Buchanan’s 1992 presidential bid. Claim to fame: Represents John Wayne Bobbitt. Lowdown: Though a cable deal’s in the works, getting the networks to buy a story about you-know-what may be a harder sell than Buchanan. Meanwhile, Erickson and partner Robert Abramoff have sent Bobbitt on a nationwide media tour, with Europe, Australia, and Japan in the wings. Defining detail: Erickson designed the artwork for those tasteful ”Love Hurts” T-shirts.
Dominic Barbara Lawyer Credits: Represented former virgin Jessica Hahn in 1987. Claim to fame: One word-Buttafuoco. Lowdown: Though Barbara negotiated a reported $500,000 for Joey and Mary Jo to appear on A Current Affair (earlier, lawyer Marvyn Kornberg had won the couple an estimated $300,000 for a CBS TV movie), the cash cow may be drying up-a report of a deal with Fox TV for yet another Buttafuoco movie was denied by the network. Defining detail: Barbara has been a frequent guest on Howard Stern’s radio show.
Michael Jaffe and Howard Braunstein Producers Credits: Altogether they have produced more than 20 docudramas, including NBC’s Amy Fisher: My Story (which they rushed out in 71 2 weeks to beat CBS’ and ABC’s Fisher sagas). Claim to fame: They paid a record $600,000 for rights to make the TV movie Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story. Lowdown: Disney priced them out of the Kerrigan bidding war. Defining detail: ^ Braunstein (left) likes Phil Collins; Jaffe prefers Paul Robeson.
Tom Colbert President of Industry R&D Credits: Former story director for Hard Copy. Claim to fame: Colbert’s 11 2-year-old research company boasts 17 clients (including five movie-of-the-week companies and ABC News) that pay thousands of dollars a month to receive a tip sheet that uncovers the new Amy Fisher story before it gets hot. Lowdown: With the national appetite for sensationalism at an all- time high, he may be on a roll. Defining detail: He decorates his office with posters of hard-boiled tabloid flicks like Humphrey Bo-gart’s Deadline U.S.A.
Eric Naiburg Lawyer Credits: Previous Long Island clients have included Richard Angelo and James Troiano (who were dubbed the ”Angel of Death” and the ”Northport Satan,” respectively). Claim to fame: Defended Amy Fisher. Lowdown: Got mucho attention for selling off TV and book rights to Fisher’s story to help raise her $2 million bail. Naiburg claims he and Amy turned down a $1 million deal to meet with Mary Jo Buttafuoco on a TV interview. Defining detail: He was a vibrating-bed salesman before becoming a lawyer.