Attorney

Attorney Releases New Video in Cruise Ship Incident

The attorney representing the family of a man who threw himself off a Royal Caribbean cruise ship released new video Tuesday taken moments before Bernardo Elbaz went overboard Friday night.

The footage shows a confrontation between Elbaz, 31, and security guards on the Oasis of the Seas. In the video, Elbaz is upset and complaining about being mistreated because he was gay, allegedly being called "lipstick" and "pedophile."

"I have a husband; I am not a pedophile," Elbaz, who went by Bernardo Garcia Teixeira prior to marriage, said in the video. Elbaz and his husband Erik were legally married a year ago in New York state.

Royal Caribbean officials and the Broward Sheriff's Office have said the security crew was responding to the report of a domestic disturbance involving Elbaz, now presumed dead, and his husband. The sheriff's office also said Elbaz announced plans to jump before he dove off the side of the ship.

His attorney disputes that claim.

"What's most important is this was not a domestic dispute; this was not a suicide," attorney Michael Winkleman said. "This was an act of protest based on the way that this legally gay, legally married couple was mistreated by Royal Caribbean."

The day after Elbaz went into the water, Royal Caribbean said the man landed on a lifeboat one deck below his balcony before plunging into the ocean.

His husband said Monday that Elbaz didn't jump.

"He was holding on for his life; he was reaching out for assistance," Erik Elbaz said. "He did not need to die. He was alive, and it was unfortuante missteps on the cruise line."

The widow said cruise ship workers could have prevented his husband's death and now "have blood on their hands."

"How can the ship have only a few security guards, and instead of being downstairs with him to assist him, they were all upstairs with me, all guards?" he wondered. "For what purpose?"

Attorney Winkleman originally said Bernardo Elbaz fell, but later admitted the fall or jump was intentional and was the direct result of the crew's harassment and being over-served liquor.

"I'm hired by families that have tragedies that occur, and I deal with the facts that are presented to them, and I argue as an advocate on their behalf," Winkleman said.

Winkleman said he intends to release more footage Wednesday.

Royal Caribbean released the following statement on Saturday:

"Our onboard security team responded to the guest's stateroom after a neighboring guest complained about a domestic dispute on the guest's balcony. Our staff did not have a physical altercation with the guest and were unable to prevent his jumping from the stateroom balcony.

"Royal Caribbean is deeply saddened by this event. We will continue to provide assistance to the family as well as law enforcement."

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