He's been vilified for defending a monster. He's been cursed, threatened and called at midnight for helping the man charged with murdering Nixzmary Brown.
And that was before he labeled the 7-year-old victim - who was tied to a chair and beaten to death - "a little Houdini" and a "feisty, spunky" youngster.
But defense lawyer Jeffrey Schwartz says he won't change his over-the-top style in defending Nixzmary's stepfather, Cesar Rodriguez.
"This is like the Mount Everest of cases," the 45-year-old Devil's advocate said of the three-week-old trial. "But we're doing what we can to get an acquittal. We're climbing step by step.
"I think jurors expect a show - not a magic show, but if there's a little oomph to the defense at least we're keeping them awake."
They were certainly wide-eyed when Schwartz brought Nixzmary's neighbor to tears on the witness stand as he grilled her on why she didn't try to perform CPR on the girl the night of Jan. 11, 2006.
The jurors might even have nightmares about the pictures Schwartz introduced as evidence that show fetal material in a jar found in the apartment.
He plans to use the gruesome photos to argue that Nixzmary's mother blamed the 7-year-old for causing her to have a miscarriage - and that she, not Rodriguez, beat her to death.
Schwartz denies he's mounting a blame-the-victim defense.
"I didn't mean to say, or even to imply for even a millisecond that she deserved this or brought this on herself," he said of his opening statement, in which he talked about Nixzmary being a problem child.
But he had no qualms about saying Rodriguez was simply a "strict disciplinarian" even as prosecutors outlined how he hit Nixzmary, tied her to a chair and kept her locked up.
"Subtle as a heart attack," Schwartz said of his style.
Raised by Brooklyn schoolteachers who rarely hit him, Schwartz said he has never laid a hand on his own daughter, who is now 17.
In the courtroom, though, the gloves come off.
"He was charismatic, a good aggressive prosecutor," said Queens assistant district attorney Charles Testagrossa, who was once Schwartz's boss. "But as a defense attorney that tends to offend people."
"I'm not in this job to make friends," Schwartz said. "My job is to represent the interest of defendants."
The Jaguar-driving, 6-foot-3 lawyer cites Talmudic law to justify his life's work.
"There is a special place in heaven for those who represent the monsters in society," he said. "I look at myself as the lawyer of last resort."
Schwartz, who favors tailor-made suits, was appointed by the court to represent Rodriguez and is working below his usual fee.
"I really do believe in truth, justice and the American way," said the Superman buff who admits enjoying the spotlight. "It's wonderful. I mean for me to hire a PR firm to get this kind of publicity would cost a fortune.
"Meanwhile, all I'm getting is threats and nasty calls. It hasn't seemed to make me any friends or increased my popularity."
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