It has been 26 days since Catherine Youssef Kassenoff announced by email and Facebook that she would end her life in Switzerland at an unnamed assisted suicide clinic.
The date was May 27.
Did Catherine, a lawyer and mother of three, embroiled in a 4-year-long divorce and custody fight, go through with her plan?
Some think it is a hoax and that she staged the announcement to gain sympathy for her getting the right to see her children and ruin the reputation of her battling husband-attorney Allan Kassenoff.
Since Catherine’s announcement, Allan has resigned from his reportedly $1 million per year job as the premier patent litigator with the mammoth law firm Greenberg Traurig.
Catherine had at least three attorneys working closely with her when she purportedly ended her life in Switzerland.
Family Law Attorney Believes
FR spoke to attorney Harold Burke, who represents Catherine in a federal lawsuit against Allan and his attorney Constantine ‘Gus’ Dimopoulus for, among other causes, violating 18 USC § 2511 – “The Wiretap Act.”
Catherine alleged Allan intentionally intercepted, and Dimopoulus disclosed, Catherine’s private texts and emails.
The federal Wiretap Act provides for criminal and civil penalties. Catherine is suing for civil damages. It is unknown if there is a criminal investigation or active grievance with the bar association against Allan or Dimopoulus.
Catherine alleges Allan spied on her texts and emails for years after secretly obtaining her password through deception.
Catherine found out when Dimopoulus placed selective and embarrassing texts of Catherine into court filings in 2019, at the time Allan was seeking a divorce.
By spying – though illegal – on his wife’s emails and texts, Allan gained an advantage over her in family court since he saw confidential emails between her and her attorney and knew in advance their legal plans.
Attorney Burke told FR that he “believes” Catherine is deceased.
On June 5, he wrote to US District Judge Kenneth M. Karas, who is presiding on the wiretap case, asking for four weeks to confirm Catherine is deceased.
Burke wrote, “I last spoke with my client approximately 25 minutes after she transmitted her May 27 message. She confirmed that she was proceeding with the plan she had outlined in the email. Approximately 20 minutes into the call, the line disconnected, and my efforts to re-establish contact were unsuccessful. I have not heard from her since and to the best of my knowledge and information neither has anyone else.
“Next, while my client did not disclose her specific location during my calls with her, I know that she was outside the United States…
“The name and location of the specific facility, while suspected, has not been confirmed… under Swiss law, patient-related information, including confirmation of death, is subject to… local disclosure procedures.
“In accordance with US Department of State procedures, efforts have been undertaken to have the appropriate United States Consulate confirm her death…
“At this time, I have no reason to suspect or believe that Catherine Kassenoff is alive but I must concede that I cannot verify that she has died…”
Dr. Brewer Thinks She Did It
While Burke did not say what Swiss facility he believed she went to end her life, FR contacted Dr. Colin Brewer, a psychiatrist in London who examined Catherine for mental competency to qualify her for assisted suicide.
Dr. Brewer told Frank Report that he understood she had an appointment with Pegasos in Basel, Switzerland.
Dr. Brewer said, “I wasn’t there at the time, but I have absolutely no reason to think that Mrs. Kassenoff is not dead and is actually hiding out in a remote Alpine hut, making plans for a dramatic reappearance or making a new life for herself under an assumed name. Nor can I imagine that Pegasos would risk its reputation and perhaps even its continued existence by facilitating such a deception.”
Pegasos uses intravenous transfusion for patients seeking to end their life. A doctor inserts the cannula into the person’s arm, but the person seeking death must activate the drip delivering the fatal drug.
Personal Attorney, Wayne Baker Believes
FR spoke with Catherine’s personal attorney, Wayne Baker.
Baker is convinced Catherine went through with her plan.
He worked with Catherine when both were prosecutors for the Department of Justice for the Eastern District of New York.
FR asked Baker if he had any dispositive evidence of her death.
Baker told FR:
“Catherine called me when she was there [at the Swiss facility]. I spoke with her on a few occasions, including the night before.
“I tried to talk her out of it, but I realized she concluded the court would never allow her to be who she was, the mother of her children.
“Catherine saw this fight was hurting her girls tremendously, and she didn’t want them to continue to have the constant stress and daily involvement in this never-ending divorce proceeding.
“Catherine was at peace with her decision and felt free for the first time in years from the legal bombardments she was subjected to.
“It was fitting that she killed herself on Memorial Day weekend, because she made the ultimate sacrifice for her children so they wouldn’t be part of this ridiculous fight any longer.
“It was obvious to her that Allan was going to get the kids and do whatever he could to stop her from having any contact with them.
“Why drag it out any longer?
“I am convinced she went forward with her plan. I’ll stake my reputation on the fact that she is deceased.
“Obviously, I have not heard from her since.
“Catherine released an email explaining what she was doing and why she was going through with it. She was a person of her word.
“My understanding is that when a US citizen dies overseas, the country where the death occurs investigates and confirms the death, issues a death certificate, and provides it to the US authorities.
“When official notification comes through the State Department, to the extent people question whether she went forward with her plan, Catherine’s word will be vindicated.”