Rest in Peace, Robert Dunn

Bad news about a best friend of mine and this show: Robert Dunn (search) — a defense attorney who practiced in federal court and a good friend of mine — died a few days ago.

Robert was a good friend of mine. I'd know him for 10 years, but almost the entire time I knew him, he was living with a transplanted heart.

He continued to practice law as a transplant patient. He was probably best known for representing Abdullah Higazy (search), a young Egyptian who was staying in the Millennium Hotel on September 11, 2001. Authorities thought he had a radio that was used to guide the hijackers into the World Trade Center.

Robert discovered that the radio belonged to someone else and that Mr. Higazy was falsely accused. It even turned out that somebody was trying to set Higazy up. So, all in all, Robert Dunn prevented a terrible injustice.

He was a great lawyer and a great guy. I liked to have him on the show because I could twist his tail with some terribly provocative sort of reactionary statement like, "Why can't we just lock them all up forever?" Bob would carefully and eloquently pick my argument apart. I didn't interrupt him much because he always gave a good argument that was worth hearing out. You didn't get cheap arguments from Robert Dunn.

A little about Bob's transplanted heart: It came from a white woman who was killed in a car wreck. She was considerably smaller than Bob. He was a very tall man, but her heart kept him going for seven years and seemed to underscore an often repeated point that race is only skin deep. Her heart was as perfect a genetic match for Bob as you could get without the donor being a brother from the same parents.

Last week, Bob fainted in court. He regained consciousness in the ambulance and called his sister to say he was going to the hospital to get a shot and that he wasn't going to spend his 50th birthday in the hospital.

At the hospital, the transplanted heart quit. Seven years is a long run for a heart that's not original equipment. They put Bob on a heart lung machine, hoping he could get another transplant. It didn't work and Bob Dunn died three days before his 50th birthday.

He was a good friend to many people and we all miss him already.

That's My Word.

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