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New York Post
$1.5M life-insurance policy may have triggered sledgehammer and stabbing attack: sources
By Rebecca Rosenberg
August 19, 2013

NYC psychiatrist Michael Weiss (inset, behind lawyer)

NYC psychiatrist Michael Weiss (inset, behind lawyer)

Authorities are probing whether a $1.5 million life-insurance policy fueled a brutal sledgehammer and knife attack on a psychiatrist in his Upper West Side office last year, sources told The Post.

Just four days before the bloody assault, shrink Michael Weiss begrudgingly changed the beneficiary on his massive life-insurance policy to ex-gal pal and fellow psychiatrist Pamela Buchbinder, according to sources and family-court records obtained by The Post. Buchbinder, 43, has a young son with Weiss, 38.

Weiss was allegedly attacked by Jake Nolan, a 21-year-old cousin of Buchbinder’s who was living with her in her Chelsea pad at the time.

“The ink was still wet [on the policy] when Nolan attacked him,” said Weiss’ lawyer, Roland Acevedo. “It’s like a ‘20/20’ episode. It sure looks like his son’s mother put Jake up to this for the insurance money.”

The Manhattan DA’s Office is now probing a possible link, including whether Buchbinder was with Nolan when he bought the sledgehammer at a Manhattan Home Depot, sources said.

DA investigators have interviewed Weiss and requested a copy of the insurance policy, according to a law-enforcement source familiar with the case.

“The circumstances are suspicious, and we’re looking into it,” the source said.

Acevedo said Buchbinder had badgered Weiss for weeks to name her on his insurance policy and that he finally caved in to her demands Nov. 8, 2012, as part of a family-court settlement.

On the morning of Nov. 12, Nolan allegedly showed up at Weiss’ West 57th Street office carrying a heavy black duffel bag.

After a dispute about paying for Weiss’ son’s education, Nolan — the godfather of the 6-year-old boy — asked to use the restroom.

He allegedly emerged swinging a sledgehammer over Weiss’s head as the horrified psychiatrist cowered at his desk.

Nolan then switched weapons, whipping out a kitchen knife and plunging it into the dazed analyst’s back and chest at least eight times, authorities have said.

The shocked shrink managed to wrestle the blade from his assailant and stab him once.

“[Weiss] crawled into the hallway covered in blood and screamed, ‘Help me! Help me!’ ” Acevedo said.

Cops arrested Nolan – charged with attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon – and he was released after posting $200,000 bail.

Buchbinder didn’t return repeated calls requesting comment. Nolan’s lawyer, Steven Brounstein, declined comment.