Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Claus von Bulow Case

The Son's Tale

In excruciating detail, Alexander told jurors the story of his life. He had never seen his mother drunk or on drugs, he testified. His relationship with Claus von Bülow was warm up until the end, Alexander said, adding that the Von Auersperg children considered Claus more of an "uncle" than a stepfather.

Somewhat stiff and formal on the stand, Alexander told of returning from a tennis date in late December 1979 to find his mother's maid in tears because Sunny was ill and "Uncle Claus" would not call the doctor. He told of his conversation with Claus and the arrival of the doctor.

"Did you and the defendant have any private conversations while your mother was in the hospital?" Famiglietti asked the witness.

Alexander replied that, shortly after Maria had told him of her suspicions, Claus had asked him into the library for a drink. Claus told Alexander that he felt like a kept man and that Sunny was preventing him from realizing his full potential in the business world.

The young prince also told the court that, although he had informed his sister and grandmother about the contents of the black bag, he didn't want to "alienate" his mother by telling her what he had seen.

"Did your mother ever talk about her relationship with the defendant?" the prosecutor asked.

When Alexander said that his mother had talked to him about divorcing Claus "for a reason too horrible to tell," Famiglietti asked about the time frame.

"That was in November 1980, shortly after Thanksgiving," Alexander replied.

"About a month before her final coma," Famiglietti reminded courtroom observers.

The next day during the trial, Famiglietti introduced the black bag and the drug paraphernalia. Alexander identified it as the bag he had found inside a metal box in the locked closet used by Claus.

Under cross-examination, Alexander held his ground and remained calm. The defense attorney was not able to find a crack in Alexander's story wide enough to slip a piece of paper through. Alexander denied ever seeing his mother use pills and said the only times he had ever seen her appear drunk or disoriented were in connection with the two comas.

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