Elizabeth Fink, defense attorney, died at 70

  Dead Famous

Elizabeth Fink, born in 1945 and died September 22, 2015, she was an American civil rights and criminal defense attorney.

She is most prominently associated with lawsuits concerning the Attica Prison riots.

A class action suit she filed in 1974, against prison guards for torture and abuse during the riot, was settled in 2000, awarding $12 million to inmates.

Elizabeth graduated from Reed College in 1967.

Elizabeth is founder and senior partner at the Law Office of Elizabeth M. Fink, a civil rights, prisoner rights and criminal defense firm in Brooklyn, New York.

The Attica lawsuit consumed much of her time until 2000, when prisoners won a $12 million judgment from the state of New York but received neither an apology nor admission of responsibility from the state.

Elizabeth has also represented other prisoners and political radicals. In 1989, she and others secured acquittals for members of the Ohio 7, political radicals who were charged under a federal seditious conspiracy statute.

Along with attorneys Sarah Kunstler (Kunstler’s father, William Kunstler, had long been a mentor of Elizabeth ) and Jesse Berman, Elizabeth represented Osama Awadallah, a Palestinian college student studying in the United States, who was arrested as a material witness in the days following the September 11, 2001 attacks and prosecuted for alleged perjury before the grand jury investigating the terrorist attacks. Awadallah was acquitted in November 2006.

Also in 2006, Elizabeth represented Lynne Stewart during sentencing after Stewart’s conviction for violating special communication measures involving client Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman.

Elizabeth secured a sentence of 28 months, but that was later increased to ten years.

Elizabeth represented Jeremy Hammond, who was convicted in 2013 for hacking the private intelligence firm Stratfor and releasing its documents through the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.

Elizabeth was a member of a team of attorneys who represented Ahmed Ferhani, who was accused of plotting to blow up synagogues and churches in Manhattan, New York.

Elizabeth argued that Ferhani had been entrapped by law enforcement authorities, but Ferhani in 2012 pled guilty to terrorism conspiracy and weapons possession charges.

Elizabeth Fink died on September 22, 2015 in New York City, at the age of 70.

Elizabeth and her paralegal Frank Smith, an inmate leader at the time of the riots, were featured in the 2001 Court TV documentary Ghosts of Attica, which tells the story of the Attica uprising and subsequent lawsuits by Attica inmates.