What is it with New York lawyers spouting racist rants in public places this year?
Another New York lawyer has been caught on video making racially charged comments, as well as assaulting a fellow subway passenger. That video, which has gone viral, comes just a few months after a New York City lawyer named Aaron Schlossberg was caught making a racially charged, anti-immigrant rant. That video, which also went viral, prompted intense blowback and a referral to attorney disciplinary authorities, forcing a public apology from Schlossberg.
In the latest incident, multiple videos posted online Wednesday depict a woman on a New York City subway car in Brooklyn shouting expletives, spitting at fellow passengers and specifically attacking another woman on the train by kicking and hitting her with an umbrella and keychain.
At one point in the video of the incident, the aggressor—identified in news reports as Anna Lushchinskaya, who uses the last name Lushchinsky professionally—lets out a racial slur typically used to denigrate Asians. Later, Lushchinsky makes another comment that seemed to be racially charged, referring to a male passenger, who has dark skin and describes himself on camera as Dominican, as “Muhammad.”
After footage of the subway incident was publicized, news reports emerged that in addition to her behavior during the morning rush hour, Lushchinsky is a law school graduate who was registered as an attorney in New York. According to state bar records, she graduated from New York Law School and was admitted to practice in New York in 2004. It’s unclear from the bar records whether Lushchinsky is actively practicing—her profile on the state bar’s attorney directory lists her registration status as, “due to re-register within 30 days of birthday.”
Lushchinsky could not be reached for comment Friday.
In the wake of the subway confrontation, Lushchinsky, 40, was arrested and the New York City Police Department’s transit bureau announced on Twitter that she could have faced felony assault charges. However, according to criminal court records in New York, the subway incident resulted in five misdemeanor charges, including menacing with a weapon other than a gun and attempted assault.
— PL∆T∆NO M∆N™ (@PlatanoMan) December 12, 2018
The video of Lushchinsky called to mind the controversy that swirled around Schlossberg earlier in 2018. In May, a video posted online showed a white man who appeared to be Schlossberg berating the manager at a Fresh Kitchen restaurant in Manhattan. The tirade apparently came after Schlossberg overheard a conversation in Spanish between other Fresh Kitchen employees. Schlossberg accused them of all being “undocumented” and threatened to call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The viral video of Schlossberg prompted U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-New York, to refer the matter to bar disciplinary authorities. Ethics experts said at the time that it wasn’t likely Schlossberg would ultimately face discipline from the bar, and even if he were disciplined, it probably wouldn’t become public.
But a different analysis may apply to Lushchinsky—particularly if she is convicted of any of the criminal charges she faces in light of the subway incident.
“Whether the lawyer is disciplined will depend on whether he has prior discipline and his defense (‘the meds made me do it,’ for example),” Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University School of Law, said in May after the Schlossberg incident. “If the conduct leads to a conviction, even a minor one, discipline will be much more likely.”