The former lead violinist for a world-renowned German string quartet pleaded guilty Wednesday to 2015 charges that he broke into a woman’s Manhattan hotel room while nude and attempted to strangle her, officials said.
Stefan Arzberger, 43, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor third degree reckless assault without factual admission.
As a result, Manhattan prosecutors dropped the top charges against Arzberger, including felony attempted murder, court officials said.
Arzberger waived his right to appeal as part of the plea.
Arzberger, first violinist of the Leipzig String Quartet, a respected classical ensemble from Germany, had been staying at the Hudson Hotel in midtown Manhattan on March 27, 2015, when the NYPD said he barged into a 64-year-old woman’s hotel room nude and assaulted her.
The lurid details of the case made international headlines. Music fans and fellow musicians rallied in support around Arzberger, even creating a website to defend the violinist, support-for-arzberger.com.
In court, Arzberger’s attorneys, Manhattan-based Levitt and Kaizer, argued that their client had been drugged by another person and had no memory of his actions.
The website, started by close friends of the violinist, according to its homepage, includes instructions on how to contribute to Arzberger’s legal bills and testimonials about his character.
It also includes and information about the type of drug they suspect was in Arzberger’s system on the night of the hotel incident.
Prosecutors said they accepted the plea after considering a number of factors, including the fact that no discernible motive was found, that the accusations deviated from Arzberger’s normal behavior and questions were raised about his criminal responsibility.
Additionally, the victim was satisfied with the plea and sentence, prosecutors told the judge.
In a statement from his attorneys, Arzberger said he “thanks all those who resolutely stood by me, emotionally and spiritually, as well as those who generously housed and supported me, both here in the United States and overseas, during these very difficult 15 months.”