Ron Kuby

Ron Kuby

Infobox Person
name = Ron Kuby

caption =
birth_date = birth date and age|1956|7|31
birth_place = Cleveland, Ohio
death_date =
death_place =
other_names =
known_for =
occupation = Trial attorney
nationality = flag|United States

Ronald L. Kuby (born July 31, 1956 in Cleveland, Ohio) is a criminal defense and civil rights lawyer, radio talk show host and TV commentator.


After his parents divorced when he was five years old, Kuby lived with his mother. At thirteen, he joined the Jewish Defense League under the influence of his father, a follower of Meir David Kahane. He would later defend El Sayyid Nosair, convicted of Kahane's murder as part of his conviction for conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In junior high school, Kuby was expelled for publishing an underground newspaper critical of the school administration. As a teenager, he visited Israel, but soon returned to the United States complaining of "anti-Arab racism".fact|date=September 2008

After dropping out of college, Kuby briefly worked on a tug boat in the U.S. Virgin Islands, then moved to New England, and Kansas, where he eventually completed his degree at the University of Kansas. [ [ "William Kunstler's legacy - "Crispy Fries and Radical Causes"] - New York Times, 6/7/95]

Partnership with William Kunstler

While in college, Kuby interned with William Kunstler, a lawyer known for his defense of the Chicago Seven. Kuby earned his Juris Doctor from Cornell Law School in 1983.

From 1983 until Kunstler's death in 1995, the two worked together on civil rights and criminal cases. They represented Gregory Lee Johnson, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman (head of the Egyptian-based militant group Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya); Colin Ferguson (the man responsible for the LIRR shootings, who would later choose to represent himself at trial); Qubilah Shabazz (daughter of Malcolm X, accused of plotting to murder Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam); Glenn Harris (a New York public school teacher who absconded with a fifteen year-old girl for two months), Darrell Cabey (one of the victims of the Bernard Goetz shooting); Yu Kikumura, and associates of the Gambino Crime Family. During the Gulf War, they represented American soldiers claiming "conscientious objector" status. They also represented El Sayyid Nosair, assassin of the late extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane, whom Kuby's father had admired.

Kunstler and Kuby never formalized a partnership with a contract or tax filings. Despite a letterhead that read "Kunstler and Kuby", Kuby was paid as an employee and never shared in the firm's profits and losses. On this basis Kuby was denied ownership rights to the firm's case files, accounts, and name after Kunstler died. Kunstler's widow Margaret Ratner put her late husband's archives under lock and key. Kuby filed a complaint against her with the attorney disciplinary committee. The committee dismissed the complaint in August 1996. In December 1996 a court case brought by Ratner resulted in Kuby being denied any rights in the Kunstler firm. [Source: Hoffman, Jan (Dec. 15, 1996). "A Bitter Fight Rages Over Files and a Famous Name." New York Times Online Archive]

Post-Kunstler Career

After Kunstler's death, Kuby continued the work of his late mentor. In 1996, he won a judgment of forty three million dollars against Bernhard Goetz. He also won nearly a million dollars for members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club, who were wrongfully arrested by the New York City Police Department. He won the 2001 release of two men imprisoned 13 years for a murder they did not commit, winning a judgment of 3.3 million dollars for the pair. He secured a reversal of a murder conviction for a mentally-ill homeless man whose candle accidentally caused the death of a firefighter. In 2005, Kuby won close to a million dollars for another wrongfully convicted man who spent eight years in prison. Kuby now leads the Law Office of Ronald L. Kuby, one of the premiere criminal defense and civil rights firms in New York City. [ [ Law Office of Ronald L. Kuby website] ]

Radio and television personality

Citations missing|date=October 2007Until November 1, 2007, Kuby co-hosted (with Curtis Sliwa) the popular "Curtis and Kuby in the Morning" program aired on weekdays from 5 to 10 am on WABC-AM 770 in New York City. [ [ Curtis & Kuby in the Morning] 77-WABC page] The show featured commentary and debate on current issues, and a "Court of Kuby" segment on notable legal cases and periodic "Shout Outs" to current and former clients.

He is also a frequent pundit and substitute anchor on Court TV. He and Sliwa once shared a short-lived midday television program on MSNBC.

Kuby has often claimed to be a Communist. However, Kuby's political beliefs moderated considerably after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Of Jewish heritage, Kuby has also said he is an atheist.

He is interviewed in Kevin Keating's documentary Giuliani Time (which is concerned with Rudy Giuliani's career).

Kuby was fired by WABC on November 1, 2007 as part of a plan to bring back Don Imus to morning radio, in place of the station's "Curtis and Kuby in the Morning" show. WABC program director Phil Boyce publicly stated that he did not intend to keep Kuby.

Kuby was surprised that he was the first casualty of Imus -- "Imus makes a racist comment, they fire a civil rights lawyer, and Imus gets my job," Kuby said. []

On June 3, 2008, Ron Kuby returned to the air with his own show. He was hired by Air America Radio to replace Randi Rhodes on weekday afternoons. Doing Time with Ron Kuby airs weekdays from 3 P.M. to 6 P.M. Eastern Time

Testimony/Controversy during John Gotti Jr. retrial

In 2006, Kuby was subpoenaed by the defense to testify at the second John Gotti Junior trial (which included an allegation of a plot to kidnap Kuby's radio co-host Sliwa) regarding a failed plea bargain Kuby handled for Gotti in 1998. In March 2006, Kuby testified that he had engaged in a conversation with Junior Gotti, who told him "that he was sick of this life", and "he wanted this to be over." [ [ "Junior Gotti was 'Sick of This Life,' Radio Show Host Kuby says"] - Newsday, 3/6/06]

Personal life

Citations missing|date=October 2007Since 1986, Kuby has been in a long-term relationship with Marilyn Vasta, whom he refers to on air as "the beloved Marilyn". They have one daughter named Emma Vasta Kuby. On January 24, 2006, Ron Kuby married Vasta. The date was chosen because it was the 20th anniversary of their first date. Kuby made the marriage announcement on his radio program.

Pop Culture References

*In the film "The Big Lebowski", Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski (played by Jeff Bridges) demands representation either by Mr. Kuby or Bill Kunstler during the Malibu Police Station scene.


External links

* [ Ron Kuby's website, Law Office of Ronald L. Kuby]
* [ Air America Radio show site]
* [ Newsmeat, Kuby's Federal Campaign Contribution Report]
* [ Marxism: Kuby and Sliwa] Marxism mailing list archive
* [ Kuby and Sliwa] News clippings compiled by Louis Proyect
* [,hentoff,8443,6.html A free speech warrior]
* [ Jonathan Leaf Talks With Ron Kuby]
* [ Saddam Hussein's Defense] Transcript from the Paula Zahn show of a debate between Ron Kuby and David Horowitz
* [ Sheik Rejects 2d Lawyer]
* [ Why War? Analysis: Left Behind] The New York Times Magazine's profile of Lynne Stewart, with extensive quotations of her friend and colleague, Ron Kuby

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