New evidence filed in Bonilla misconduct case
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Prosecutors unveiled new evidence against Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla on Friday as he pleaded not guilty to revised misconduct and coercion charges.
Bonilla, 50, of Bellmore, was arraigned in First District Court in Hempstead after being newly charged with two counts of official misconduct, one count of coercion and one count of attempted petty larceny -- all misdemeanors.
Prosecutors had initially charged him with one count of official misconduct, plus the two other misdemeanors, related to allegations he tried to obtain "intimate and personal photographs" of a female subordinate who had accused him of sexual harassment, according to a criminal complaint.
Prosecutor Jed Painter on Friday submitted two new items into evidence: a video, and a CD that contains information about phone calls and text records. He also filed new statements from additional witnesses. A spokesman for the district attorney's office declined to comment on their content.
Bonilla's lawyer, Adrian DiLuzio, of Mineola, said he did not have the chance to review the new evidence as of Friday afternoon, but added that the video is supposed to include footage of Bonilla allegedly touching the hand of one of the female accusers. The CD contains text messages and calls between phone numbers, but not the content of the messages, DiLuzio said.
"This case is about the spin and interpretation people put on it," DiLuzio said after the court appearance. "It's not the spin that we accept."
Three additional witness statements were also submitted: one from the original female accuser, one from a male employee and one from another female employee who said Bonilla made her feel "uncomfortable," DiLuzio said.
"I will see if the allegations even support the charges," DiLuzio said.
Bonilla, the town clerk for nine years, supervises about 125 employees. He is paid $129,500 annually.
On Sept. 21, the day Bonilla was initially charged, Supervisor Kate Murray, who, like Bonilla, is a Republican, called on him to resign. Bonilla has said he will not step down.
"This seems to be Kate Murray's way to get rid of employees," DiLuzio said.
Murray and the town board are still calling for his resignation, town spokesman Mike Deery said Friday. He declined to comment on DiLuzio's allegations.
Bonilla, who was released on his own recognizance, is scheduled to appear again in court on Nov. 2.
"We're going to trial," DiLuzio said. "Mr. Bonilla is not guilty. . . . It would have to be decided by a jury."