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Fake-firefighter writes about killing of Vogue editor

A fashion writer accused of posing as a firefighter and sexually abusing a co-worker had written about killing the editor in chief of Vogue magazine, and a judge called jury to hear those rants.

Lawyers for Peter Braunstein had argued to block those writings, along with his journal entries about serial killer David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz, fictional cannibal Hannibal Lecter, the Columbine massacre, and a quote from Notorious B.I.G. about killing.

State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Farber excluded everything except Braunstein's rants about Vogue's Anna Wintour, which he said are relevant without being especially prejudicial.

Braunstein's writings about Wintour include the remark, "So I'll tell you why I'm going to kill Anna Wintour - because I just feel like it."

At another point Braunstein writes that Wintour would go to a hell that was run and guarded by large rats. He said she would not need furs because, being in hell, she would only need "tropical" wear.

The attack victim was Braunstein's former co-worker at Fairchild Publications, parent of Women's Wear Daily and W magazine. Braunstein also dated the beauty editor at W magazine, and was accused at one point of harassing her.

Braunstein has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, burglary, sex abuse and robbery, although his lawyers concede he attacked the woman. Braunstein's lawyers say their client is mentally ill and should not be held criminally responsible for the Oct. 31, 2005, attack.

Prosecutors say Braunstein ignited smoke bombs while wearing firefighter gear and bluffed his way into the woman's apartment, where he held her prisoner and sexually abused her for nearly 13 hours.

A psychologist called by the defense, Dr. Barbara Kirwin, testified Monday that she found Braunstein to be a "textbook" case of paranoid schizophrenia and a person who was determined to kill himself.

Kirwin said people with Braunstein's type of mental illness "are sort of crazy in a narrow range." She said that means they may be very intelligent and functional normally except in that narrow range where they "talk to God." They do not think everybody's out to get them - just certain people or institutions, such as the government or their boss, she said.

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