A publicist with some high-profile clients including Jay-Z, Britney Spears, and Monica Lewinsky (!), but who thrust herself into the spotlight when rage crossed with a Mercedes SUV and landed her in jail.
I will not mince words: Grubman embodies what many people see as the archetypal JAP. She was a child of privilege who has been very successful thanks in very large part to the help of her well-connected father. Like many well-connected people seeking status, Grubman frequented clubs in tony sections of Long Island's Hamptons. Her vehicle of choice was her father's Mercedes M-Class SUV, a vehicle with a reputation for being decadent and snobbish.
On July 7, 2001, Lizzie Grubman backed the aforementioned SUV into a crowd of people outside a Hamptons nightclub, injuring 16 of them. She then drove away.1
The facts of this story appear above. What follows is my own opinion and those opinions expressed by the parties in the court cases which followed.
The incident occurred late at night, and plaintiffs contended that Grubman was drunk. Grubman was denied entrance to the club, and the bouncer said that Grubman told him "Fuck you white trash" shortly before she got in her SUV and backed it into the crowd. (The bouncer was among those injured.) The bouncer and others claimed that Grubman deliberately backed her SUV into the crowd in retaliation for being denied entry. Grubman insisted that the SUV backed up accidentally as the transmission slipped into reverse gear.
During the highly publicized trial, Grubman unwillingly became a poster child for the decadence and recklessness that is associated with the Hamptons. Once the victims learned of Grubman's high status and wealthy family, they filed more than $200 million in civil lawsuits to recover compensatory and punitive damages from injuries and pain and suffering stemming from the incident. Grubman was mocked relentlessly by comedians and talk shows, particularly by New York City-based Letterman and Conan.
In the end, Grubman received 60 days' imprisonment in a minimum-security facility (where she received posh treatment and frequent visits from family), 5 years' probation, and 280 hours' community service. She was released after 38 days for good behavior. Many people feel that she received a slap on the wrist and that her family used their connections to beat the system. As of November 2002, when she left prison, the civil suits against her were still ongoing. It is unlikely that she will pay much more than the medical bills if anything at all, due to the fact that Grubman can afford expensive lawyers and New York has taken an adversarial stance towards frivolous lawsuits in the recent past.
In the meantime, Grubman's six-year-old PR firm is still going strong, and has not lost too many of its clients. Despite a proposed boycott of Grubman PR's clients by angry victims and their sympathizers, the public outside Long Island became disinterested in this case by the time summer 2001 ended.
1 hughash says it's worth mentioning after mowing the crowd down, she fled to either her lawyer or father's house and refused to take a breathalyzer, and never did IIRC.
Sources include: http://www.grubmanpr.com (official), http://www.lizziegrubman.com (parody), http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/10/23/grubman.sentencing/index.html, http://www.courttv.com/trials/grubman/071702_ctv.html