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Buttafuoco lawyer: Despite jailings, Joey's no monster

Joey Buttafuoco has been jailed or imprisoned four times, on charges ranging from statutory rape to insurance fraud, but that still doesn't make him a "monster," his attorney said during a news conference with the former Long Island auto mechanic late Wednesday in California.

Buttafuoco this week retained a law firm to investigate and possibly sue ex-wife Mary Jo, from whom he was divorced in 2003, over accusations she makes in a new book calling him a "sociopath."

Buttafuoco had little to say during the meeting at his attorney's office, speaking up only in response to a reporter's question about "how he expects the public to perceive him" at this point.

Buttafuoco answered that his life in recent years has been about "total redemption" for the mistakes of his past.

"I work in the recovery field with drug addicts and alcoholics and cocaine and methamphetamine addicts. I've been working in recovery for a long time, doing volunteer work. I am a person in recovery - I have been 22 years clean and sober. I got clean Oct. 21, 1988, and that was four years before Mary Jo got shot."

Attorney Russell Halpern said that "being deceitful, being not a good husband is one thing, but calling someone a 'sociopath' goes beyond the pale of normal discourse."

"A sociopath is someone to be afraid of, someone not to be left alone in a room with," Halpern added. "As a public figure, he rightfully can be attacked on things that are out there in the public, but this goes well beyond that."

Halpern said that the accusations made by Mary Jo Buttafuoco in "Getting It Through My Thick Skull" are defaming not just to her ex-husband, whose business interests will be compromised, but also to his new wife, "who is going to be plagued along with him because people are going to come up to her and ask how she could be married to a sociopath."

Joey Buttafuoco intends to seek undetermined damages from his ex-wife and her publisher, Health Communications Inc. Mary Jo Buttafuoco has said in response to the threat of suit that the evidence to support her accusations is there in the pages of her book.

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