Fake NYC firefighter who tortured woman gets 20 years to life

NEW YORK (AP) - A former fashion writer who posed as a New York City firefighter was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison today for charges of sexual abuse and kidnapping.

Peter Braunstein was arrested in Memphis in 2005 about two months after police said he had posed as a firefighter to bluff his way into the victim's Manhattan apartment.

Jurors heard excerpts from Braunstein's journals, in which he described posing as a Hurricane Katrina victim to get free meals as he wandered around Tennessee.

He was captured at the University of Memphis after weeks on the lam.

Braunstein's lawyers did not dispute that he carried out the attack, but said he was so mentally ill that he was unable to form the intent to be held criminally responsible for the crimes.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)