Fritzl's Lawyer Sees 'Good But Also Bad' in His Eyes

'My job is to show him as a human being,' attorney says
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2008 8:00 PM CDT
An Austrian policeman stands at the backyard entrance of a house that was the scene of a crime of incest and abuse in Amstetten, Lower Austria, Saturday, May 3, 2008.   (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
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(Newser) – Josef Fritzl's attorney is bonding with his client and painting a new picture of him for the press, Der Spiegel reports. “Josef Fritzl is being portrayed as a horrific monster and sexual tyrant," said Rudolf Mayer, a renowned Viennese lawyer. "My job is to show him as a human being." Mayer said he looked into Fritzl's eyes and gleaned much of his psyche in their first meeting.

Mayer considers himself a therapist as well as a lawyer and routinely plumbs his clients' minds. “I turn off my rational brain, switch on my gut instinct and concentrate on the person's eyes.” What did he find in Fritzl? “A paterfamilias, a patriarch” who is “very seriously affected and emotionally broken.” He gave no reason for Fritzl's crimes, but said, "There is an explanation for every deed, for every criminal act." (Read more Josef Fritzl stories.)