Henry Rothblatt, 69, Defender of 4 Watergate Burglars, Dies

From Times Wire Services

Henry Rothblatt, the brash, bow-tied Bronx lawyer whose clients ranged from Xaviera (Happy Hooker) Hollander and four Watergate burglars to some soldiers charged in the killing of a reported Vietnamese double-agent, has died of a brain tumor.

Rothblatt, 69, died Sept. 1 at Broward General Medical Center.

Author of "That Damned Lawyer," a 1983 account of his colorful career, he rose from a theater usher in the Bronx to be a professor at the New York Law School and senior partner in the law firm of Rothblatt, Rothblatt & Seijas.

Rothblatt graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1940 and began a career of defending what he called "the little guy" against the "establishment Goliath."

Rothblatt defended such controversial clients as Hollander, the Dutch madam who wrote "The Happy Hooker," four of the Cubans seized after the Watergate Hotel burglary and several soldiers accused of covering up the My Lai massacre in South Vietnam.

"He was one of those uniquely brilliant individuals from the (Clarence) Darrow school of oratory," said a friend and fellow attorney, Richard Burton. "He always believed the little guy had rights."

Rothblatt, who used the bow-tie and a pencil-thin mustache as his trademark, succeeded in having the Army drop charges against his Green Beret clients but was dismissed by the Watergate burglars when he refused to let them plead guilty.

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