Hedda's Hellish Tale

Even after the brutal beatings, she "worshiped" Joel Steinberg

She still limps. Despite plastic surgery, her nose is crushed and her upper lip is permanently split. But when she testified last week in a Manhattan courtroom against her former live-in lover, who is accused of beating to death their illegally adopted six-year-old daughter, Hedda Nussbaum spoke in a firm, clear voice. What emerged was a bizarre tale of violence, drug abuse, isolation and mind control inflicted by disbarred lawyer Joel Steinberg. Asked why she never escaped from Steinberg's thrall, Nussbaum had a simple reply: "I worshiped him."

Fighting back tears, the former editor of children's books recalled how Steinberg had...

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