Former highflying lawyer Dominic Barbara and his girlfriend both said they had been drinking before their arrests Monday on charges that he choked her and she drove drunk to a police precinct to report the choking, according to court documents.
Barbara, 67, and Kerry Carroll, 42, were released without bail after they were arraigned and pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges within minutes of each other Monday morning in First District Court in Hempstead.
"Kerry's a good girl. She just has a drinking problem. . . . We are both drunks," police quoted Barbara as saying shortly after his arrest Sunday night at the Williston Park house the couple share, documents show.
In court Barbara flatly denied the charge, telling Judge Eric Bjorneby: "She made it up."
Police said Carroll had a blood-alcohol content of 0.27 percent, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Police quoted her as saying she had about three-quarters of a large bottle of wine before she fled the house to get away from Barbara and drove to the 3rd Precinct on Hillside Avenue in Williston Park, court documents said.
"The defendant also states that she is afraid for her safety because she is afraid of her boyfriend, Dominic Barbara, who told her that he would kill her if she leaves him," the police report said.
Barbara put his hands around her throat and choked her, the statement said. "I could not breathe and was in fear for my life," she said in the statement. Barbara was charged with "criminal obstruction of breathing."
Prosecutors asked for $20,000 bond, but the judge said he did not believe bail was necessary to ensure Barbara's return to court.
Barbara is currently facing shoplifting and harassment charges from previous arrests and has had his license to practice law suspended since 2011.
Barbara had risen to fame representing a range of infamous clients, including Jessica Hahn, the church secretary from Massapequa who brought down televangelist Jim Bakker; as well as Joey Buttafuoco, whose teen lover, Amy Fisher, put a bullet into wife Mary Jo Buttafuoco's head.
More recently, Barbara had represented the husband of Diane Schuler, the woman who drove drunk the wrong way on the Taconic State Parkway, killing herself and seven others.
With John Valenti