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Lawyer Maddox Accuses Marla Hanson of Bigotry

March 20, 1987 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ A lawyer defending a man accused of slashing a model’s face with a razor blade said in court Thursday that the victim is a bigot who helped police frame the defendants because they are black.

The defendants, Steven Bowman, 28, and Darren Norman, 20, are charged with first-degree assault as the men Steven Roth hired to slice up Marla Hanson’s face in Manhattan on June 5. Roth is white.

Roth, a 28-year-old makeup artist, was convicted of first-degree assault on Dec. 20 for arranging the attack on Miss Hanson. He faces five to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced April 2.

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The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Consuelo Fernandez, charged that Roth arranged the attack because Miss Hanson would not date him and because she demanded that he return an $850 deposit on an apartment she was renting from him.

Bowman and Norman were Norman Roth’s ″catspaws″ in the attack, she said.

Alton Maddox, defending Bowman, said Miss Hanson told the first person who asked who cut her face, ″Steve Roth did this to me.″ And on this point, Maddox said, Miss Hanson and his client agreed. He noted that Bowman, too, had blamed Roth for the June 5 slashing attack.

Miss Hanson, 25, said that when she blamed Roth, she meant he had set up the attack. She said she told this to the barmaid at a bar on West 34th Street as she sat bleeding from 15 wounds and waiting for police. Nearly 150 stitches were required to close the model’s wounds.

″Marla Hanson, a girl out of Texas, has a lot of racial hang-ups and stereotypes,″ Maddox went on. ″She saw two black men and she went absolutely nuts. She immediately thought she was going to be raped.″

″After a conversation with police, she changed her story,″ Maddox said. The lawyer said she agreed to go along with a police position that two black men were more believable as suspects in a violent crime than a white man.

″If you have three men, two of them black and one of them white, which one should be holding the money and who should have the razor blades?″ Maddox asked rhetorically.

″Why won’t she tell us the whole truth?″ the lawyer continued. He suggested that it was because of ″a code of silence that exists between Marla Hanson and Steven Roth, a code of silence that still runs deep between them because of what they were up to for the last six months.″

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Maddox did not say what he thought they were up to during that period.

Plummer Lott, Norman’s lawyer, spoke for less than two minutes, asking the jury in state Supreme Court not to let sympathy for Miss Hanson interfere with an objective verdict.

Maddox, an attorney specializing in human and civil rights cases, has gained public attention as an attorney for one of the surviving victims of the Howard Beach, Queens, racial attack last December.