— Paula Iacob, a Romanian lawyer whose cases ranged from unsuccessfully defending a dictator's son to saving a killer street dog from being put down, has died. She was 83.
Iacob died Tuesday, a few days after suffering a stroke, lawyer Daniel Ionascu said Wednesday.
She became a celebrity as a level-headed advocate amid the public hysteria surrounding controversial cases, and made regular television appearances.
Iacob made her name in 1990 when she unsuccessfully defended the late Nicolae Ceausescu's flamboyant son, Nicu Ceausescu, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 1992 for misuse of funds during his father's rule.
"He is an innocent man," she said in his defense. "His misfortune was having the name Ceausescu."
Nicu Ceausescu was released from prison on health grounds and died of liver cirrhosis in Vienna
Iacob successfully represented the street dog, Bosquito, who had mauled a Japanese businessman in 2006. The man bled to death in minutes after the dog severed an artery in his thigh. Iacob, representing an animal rights' group, argued that the man may have suffered a heart attack before the dog struck. The dog was adopted by a family in Germany
In the communist era, Iacob collaborated with the Securitate secret police in the 1950s and 1970s using the pseudonyms "Gabriela" and "Ioana." She insisted that she had tried not to harm anyone in her written reports. Securitate files revealed she was paid in flowers, cakes and money.
Another of her attention-grabbing cases was representing a notorious loan shark who kept lions and bears in the garden of his Bucharest home.
Asked why he had violated terms his parole, she explained that "he went to see his lover."
"His wife's in prison," she said. "If men that cheat on their wives need to be arrested, we wouldn't have enough prisons for them."
Iacob is survived by her husband and their daughter. She will be buried Thursday at the Bellu cemetery in Bucharest.