German TV zones in on string quartet leader, trapped in New York

ZDF will tonight show a 30 minute documentary on Stefan Arzberger, the former leader of the Leipzig String Quartet who has been unable to leave New York for more than a year after being charged with attempted murder of a fellow-hotel guest.

You can watch it here at 2215 Europe time.

stefan arzberger

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  • Thanks for the link. It seems the judge is very keen on a plea bargain deal rather than a full blown trial. But I wonder how financially sound Mr A is after 14 months with no work + having to support himself in NY + vast financial fees.

    Will be interesting to hear about the next court appearance on 31-May

    • Plea bargaining can all too often be a way of railroading the innocent (or at least in cases where the truth is murky) into a confession rather take the risk of 100 year sentences with no parole.

      • Arzberger was caught with his hands around the throat of a woman he was trying to strangle. He admitted to his crime, but claimed he was drugged by a male prostitute he hired, A plea bargain deal in his case is outrageous. Why the sympathy for this man and not the woman?

    • Would you supply a link? I want to read more about the judge’s pressuring the violinist to take a plea deal.

      It makes sense, but I’d like to read more about it.

  • This is a tragic situation. Young Stefan is a wonderful, thoughtful player.
    I hope his nerves are not totally shredded by the time he is allowed to leave the country.

    Thanks for giving the link.

  • Poor man. It is bad enough to be accused of any crime in any country, but to be accused of a serious crime and detained in the United States is certainly one of the worst fates. True and pure justice is difficult in the best of places, but in the United States it is non-existent. Their perverse system, including “plea bargains” is like something right out of Kafka. Indeed, it is a way for the prosecution to get the accused to admit guilt, even if they are completely innocent, particularly in cases with complex and “murky” circumstances. That Mr. Arzberger is a white man and comes from a major country that is reporting on the case will help him tremendously in the U.S. “justice system”. Had Mr. Arzberger been a black man or an Arab, from a small and insignificant country, he would today be lost in the system there and his case would be unknown and he would join the ranks of thousands of prisoners, many completely innocent, in a country with the world’s largest prison population.

  • Also Stefan has been helped by having 100k USD to pay bail.

    If this has happened to some poor backpacker, maybe he/she would have been in jail these last 14 months ?

  • Really, all this outpouring of sympathy only for Arzberger is blatantly prejudiced. The man barged into the room of a 64-year-old woman and beat and strangled her until the blood vessels in her head broke. She needed weeks of rehabilitation, and will live with profound psychic trauma for the rest of her life. Yet all the comments here completely dismiss her suffering, and instead focus solely on the man who unquestionably committed this horrible violent crime.

    Arzberger getting perfectly fair treatment from the US justice system, and would face many more difficulties in almost any other country. No country in the world will let someone accused of violent crimes against its citizens fly around the world.

    Arzberger claims he was drugged involuntarily against his will, but there is still zero proof of that. Knockout drugs knock people out. However, crystal meth, whose use is popular among gays to heighten orgasms, has a well-documented tendency to provoke psychotic breaks. And if you voluntarily take a drug, under the law, you are responsible for what you did under its influence.

    We will probably never know exactly what happened, because a deal can and should be reached in this case. People who criticize it out of ignorance aren’t considering the alternative: a full public trial in which Arzberger’s decision to pick up a transsexual prostitute, and everything he did with that prostitute, is exposed to full public scrutiny.

  • According to The Strad:

    New York court drops violinist Stefan Arzberger’s attempted murder charge. The former Leipzig Quartet leader has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of reckless assault and faces no jail time.

    Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass listed a number of reasons for dropping the more serious charges, according to reports, including a lack of ‘discernible motive’ for the alleged attack, the fact that the behaviour was highly abnormal for Arzberger, and the wishes of the victim, who is said to have no objection to the decision.

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