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Inmate sucker-punches public defender in the head during court hearing

Everyone was noticeably surprised by the attack, prompting other defendants awaiting their appearances to make way for deputies, who handcuffed the man and carried him from the courtroom.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A public defender was taken to the hospital after a defendant in court punched her in the head, knocking her to the ground during a bond hearing in Fort Lauderdale.

Assistant Public Defender Julie Chase was standing next to a female defendant at a podium Wednesday morning when a man waiting for his own bond hearing stood up, walked behind Chase and punched her with his left hand.

The courtroom video shows Chase fall to the floor. The inmate standing next to her put her hands to her mouth and backed away. 

Everyone was noticeably surprised by the attack, prompting other defendants awaiting their appearances to make way for deputies, who handcuffed the man and carried him from the courtroom.

Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein says the Chase was hospitalized, but she is now doing “OK.”

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