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Lawyer charged with assault for handshake

February 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
A lawyer has been charged with assault for shaking a federal prosecutor's hand so hard, authorities said, that it injured her shoulder. Kathy Brewer Rentas, 49, was arrested Thursday after attending a court hearing for her husband, who was accused of violating the terms of his probation for a cocaine distribution case. The husband, Anthony Rentas, was sentenced to 90 days of house arrest.

After the hearing, Brewer Rentas asked to shake hands with Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Keene.

A court security officer reported that Brewer Rentas shook Keene's hand so forcefully that the prosecutor's arm was nearly ripped out of its socket.

"With Keene in hand, Brewer made an upward, then a quick downward motion and pulled Keene toward the ground moving her forward, almost causing Keene to fall to the ground," Deputy U.S. Marshall Robert Kremenik Jr. wrote in an arrest report.

"Assaulting a federal officer is something that we will take very seriously and prosecute vigorously," said Alicia Valle, a U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman. "As a member of the bar, she should know better."

Brewer Rentas' attorney, Gwendolyn Tuggle, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel her client never meant to hurt Keene.

Brewer Rentas spent a night in jail and was freed Friday on $100,000 bail. She was ordered to stay away from Keene and undergo a psychological evaluation to determine whether she needs counseling.

Brewer Rentas works as a commercial litigation attorney for a law firm in Hollywood, Fla. If convicted, she faces up to a year in prison and could be penalized by the Florida Bar.


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