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EXCLUSIVE: The New York City socialite charged with manslaughter in the death of an elderly Broadway coach has received the support of her fiancé and his family even while behind bars in Rikers, sources say, as her attorney tells Fox News Digital she will be freed on bond in the coming days.
Lauren Pazienza has been confined to a Rikers Island jail cell since Tuesday night in connection with manslaughter and assault charges for 87-year-old Barbara Gustern’s push-and-fall death, New York Police Department (NYPD) said and records show. But high-profile attorney Arthur Aidala told Fox News Digital on Thursday that she will soon be sprung.
“I expect the bond to be posted within the next 48 hours,” Aidala said.
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A second source told Fox News Digital family and friends decided to pool money together to cover the cost of bond.
Meanwhile, a source who is close to the family told Fox News Digital the 26-year-old has been in touch with her fiancé from Rikers and that he and his family fully support her.
“They are still together,” the source said.
Pazienza, with correction officers, refused to sit down for a jailhouse visit from a Fox News Digital reporter on Wednesday afternoon. At the time, she walked into the visiting room wearing a gray prison-issue jumpsuit – but no handcuffs – and her red hair was down and slightly disheveled.
The couple had been scheduled to tie the knot in June, though it is unclear if their plans have changed. They live together in a Queens, New York high-rise, where neighbors told Fox News Digital they shared a Husky dog. No one answered the door at the woman’s family home in Port Jefferson, New York. Pazienza’s fiancé hung up on a reporter on Wednesday and did not respond to a text message.
During a court appearance on Tuesday, a New York City judge set Pazienza’s bail at $500,000 or $1 million bond, despite prosecutors’ request that the 26-year-old woman be remanded. Her parents were in the courtroom for the hearing, which took about 20 minutes.
Pazienza was charged with manslaughter and two counts of assault for Gustern’s death, a Manhattan woman who died days after she was shoved and hit her head, the (NYPD). Aidala had arranged for her to turn herself in to the NYPD’s 10th precinct on Tuesday morning, a source told Fox News Digital.
Gustern died on March 15, days after the woman approached her from behind and pushed her just before 8:30 p.m. on March 10, police had said. Police added Monday they were treating her death as a homicide.
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The victim was in the area of West 28th Street and Eighth Avenue, less than a block from her Manhattan home at the time that she was shoved.
A criminal complaint for Pazienza’s arrest describes how she allegedly called the victim a “b—-” and “forcibly” pushed her to the pavement without being provoked.
Manhattan ADA Justin McNabney said Tuesday the dying woman — while “bleeding profusely from the head” — recounted what had happened to a friend before losing consciousness. Gustern allegedly told a friend that her attacker approached her directly and shoved her “as hard as she had ever been hit in her life,” the complaint states.
Gustern was placed on life support, but ultimately could not be saved. A medical examiner determined she died from blunt force head trauma.
Police later used surveillance footage to track down their suspect and determined that she stayed in the area for more than 20 minutes after the attack and was spotted having a physical altercation with a man, believed to be her fiancé, roughly seven minutes after the victim was shoved, the complaint states.
Thirteen minutes after the attack, Pazienza was allegedly seen watching the ambulance as it arrived in the area to help the victim and take her away. She and her fiancé allegedly left the area soon after and were seen entering New York City’s Penn Station 30 minutes later. Footage also captured her arriving at her Astoria home around 9:50 p.m. in the same clothes she wore at the scene.
Prosecutors further allege that Pazienza then took steps to avoid being caught, such as deleting her social media and her wedding website, fleeing to her parents’ Long Island home and stashing her cell phone at a relative’s home, the complaint states.
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But police received at least two tips identifying Pazienza as their suspect.
When cops showed up at the family’s Long Island home, her father allegedly refused to let cops into the home and “and claimed that his daughter was not at home,” McNabney said.
She then allegedly contacted her attorney who arranged for her to turn herself in.
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Pazienza faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of manslaughter.
Her next court hearing is scheduled for Friday.