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Burton N. "Burt" Pugach (born April 20, 1927), a New York based lawyer who spent fourteen years in prison for hiring men to throw lye in the face of his former girlfriend and future wife, Linda Eleanor Riss (born February 23, 1937).
At the age of 16, Pugach graduated from Evander Childs High School. He later received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the City College of New York and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School where he graduated cum laude. After admission into the New York State bar, Burt and Herb Weitz built the law firm of Weitz and Pugach. The firm, specializing in negligence cases, became highly influential. The success, however, was short lived - on November 19, 1958, the Special Committee on Professional Conduct formally charged Weitz and Pugach for engaging in illegal activity relating to fee splitting.
Pugach married Francine Rifkin on June 24, 1951 and they had their only child, daughter Caryn Brenda Pugach on July 21, 1954—who was mentally disabled and died on April 7, 1995, at age 40.
In 1959, Pugach began an infamous affair with Linda Riss, a 21-year-old woman from East Bronx. Upon discovering he had a wife and child, Riss broke off their relationship. Pugach threatened to kill or hurt Riss if she left him. "If I can't have you, no one else will have you, and when I get through with you, no one else will want you." Riss reported the matter to the New York Police Department to no avail. Upon hearing of her engagement to Larry Schwartz, Pugach hired three assailants to attack Riss, throwing lye in her face, leaving her blind in one eye (she lost her sight in the other eye during heart surgery) and permanently scarred. Pugach went to jail for 14 years, during which time he continually wrote to Riss. When he was released in 1974, Pugach and Riss resumed their relationship and married soon thereafter. In 1976 they co-wrote a book, A Very Different Love Story.
In 1997, Pugach was once again accused of threatening another woman with whom he was having an affair. Linda R. Pugach appeared at the trial as a character witness on behalf of Pugach.
In 2007, filmmaker Dan Klores produced the documentary Crazy Love about Burt and Linda Pugach.