New York -- Joel Steinberg, free after serving nearly 17 years in the beating death of his 6-year-old adopted daughter, still describes himself as "a good father" and said he pushed the girl but did not hit her.
Steinberg served two-thirds of the maximum 25-year sentence after he was convicted of killing Lisa Steinberg. The girl died in November 1987, three days after she was brutally beaten in the apartment Steinberg shared with his lover, Hedda Nussbaum, who also had been beaten.
In an interview with New York magazine, the disbarred lawyer continued to deny responsibility for the child's death. "As soon as we saw that she wasn't breathing right, we called the ambulance," he said. "What would anyone else have done?"
"I was a good father," he said in the interview in the edition that hits newsstands on Monday. "Of course, I'm sorry my daughter's dead. But the medical reports showed no 'present' or 'historical' fractures or wounds. That means no history of abuse. Got it?"
The magazine quoted an expert as saying Steinberg was selectively quoting from a medical report that showed the girl had injuries including brain swelling.
"If a man my size, with a fist as big as mine, hit you in the forehead, you'd hit the floor and have a mark you'd remember. If I hit a little girl that way, the bruise would have been bigger than her head!" he said.
Steinberg told the magazine he pushed his daughter, "with the soft pad, you know, on your palm?"
He has been living in a halfway house since he was released June 30.
"I went from middle-aged millionaire to penniless bum!" he told the magazine.