A former Legal Aid Society lawyer pleaded guilty Wednesday to illegally using a hidden videocamera to spy on female co-workers as they changed clothes in their offices.
Peter Barta, 32, of Queens, used a camera hidden in a clock to videotape five co-workers in the public defense agency’s Manhattan offices, recording at least one woman with her breasts and buttocks bared….
Barta, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful surveillance, a felony, in exchange for a conditional discharge. The case will be dismissed and sealed after he completes a year of counseling.
If you’re tired of reading about Peter Barta, the Legal Aid Society lawyer who allegedly videotaped his female colleagues as they were changing their clothes in the office, then skip this post.
But if you’d be interested in reading an email from a law school classmate of his, you can check it out, after the jump.
In a recent post about Peter Barta, the Legal Aid lawyer who allegedly videotaped his female colleagues as they were getting undressed, we ranked on policy debaters.
Maybe we should take it back. From a highly informative reader email:
Not all former policy debaters are creeps. Here’s a list of former policy debaters who are current or future legal rock stars:
Justice Samuel Alito, Judge Merrick Garland, Larry Tribe, Louis Kaplow, Erwin Chemerinsky, NYU President John Sexton, Jonathan Massey, David Boies, Tom Goldstein, Rebecca Tushnet, Annie Kastanek (OT 2007/Kennedy), and John Hughes (OT 2005/Thomas; pictured at right, captured in mid-debate).
Former policy debaters, please accept our apologies. We did extemp and L-D debate in high school, and we generally viewed C-X debaters with suspicion. They struck us as kids who talked reallyreallyfast, warning constantly of nuclear war. But maybe we were wrong.
To paraphrase the “ignorant tipster” from the Oona O’Connell story: “We feel kind of bad that we prejudged them. Sorry to sound like an afterschool special. But you know what? Perhaps we learned a lesson today. Good on you. ‘The more you know.’” Earlier: Reading the Bartameter (Part 3): What Is Up With Those Policy Debaters?
In the discussion about Peter Barta, the Legal Aid lawyer who allegedly made secret videotapes of his female colleagues getting dressed in the office, one question keeps coming up, again and again.
This comment is representative:
“[C]an someone explain why people are getting dressed/undressed at the Legal Aid office in the first place?”
We were curious ourselves. So we undertook an ATL investigation, contacting a few sources with firsthand knowledge.
If you’re curious, the results of our investigation appear after the jump.
We continue to follow the story of Peter Barta, the Legal Aid lawyer who allegedly made secret videotapes of his female colleagues getting dressed. Tales like this — along with associate pay raises, of course — are the raison d’etre of ATL.
After we quoted a tipster stressing that Peter Barta did policy or cross-examination debate in high school, rather than Lincoln-Douglas debate, commenters argued vociferously over whether C-X or L-D debaters get laid more. One commenter helpfully provided a link to the website for alumni of the Stuyvesant High School debate team. Here’s the entry on Barta:
Peter Barta ’92 – Debated with Eric Yuen. Came back and coached for a while. “After NYU, I went to law school at Georgetown. Now, I work as a public defender with the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan. Essentially, I’m still debating.” (3/12/03)
And still acting like a horny high schooler. And living at home with mom.
As it turns out, though, Peter Barta is not the Stuy policy debate team’s most (in)famous alumnus. That honor surely belongs to Dick Morris, the noted political commentator and consultant.
Yes, THAT Dick Morris. The self-described “sex addict”. And devotee of toe-sucking.
A new nickname for C-X debaters: C-XXX debaters? Stuyvesant Policy Debate Alumni [official website]
The reader tips about Peter Barta, the Legal Aid Lawyer who allegedly made surreptitious videos of his female co-workers getting changed, are starting to flow into our inbox. From a former colleague:
I used to work at the Criminal Defense Division (CDD) in Manhattan with Peter Barta. He would sidle up to female co-workers, bragging about his fluent Hungarian: “Did you know that the only language related to Hungarian is Finnish?”
Uh, yeah, I’m not an idiot. And if I didn’t know that already, I would have remembered from the seventeenth time you told me.
He would then mention, with no apparent self-consciousness, that he lived with his mother. Finally, he’d try to ask the girl — not me, I was too rude to him — out.
We’re repulsed. But at the same time, we can’t help wondering: Was Peter Barta just lonely and misunderstood? Could Judd Apatow, writer of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, write a screenplay that would make Barta appear sympathetic — a lovable schlub, a la Ben Stone (Seth Rogen)?
Even our tipster has a soft spot for her former colleague:
Creepy as he was/is, what a sad way to end one’s legal career. (Though I suppose he should have thought of that before he recorded “bare breasts and buttocks” on a nannycam.)
Do you know this man? His name is Peter Barta, and he’s ATL’s Lawyer of the Day Weekend. If you did what he allegedly did — see here and here (plus more links collected below) — you deserve to be honored on more than one day.
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