A Baldwin man pleaded guilty Monday to attacking his girlfriend, sparing her from testifying in a case in which prosecutors previously had said that she refused to cooperate with them.
Scott Ford, 46, pleaded guilty to multiple felonies, including assault and second-degree strangulation, in connection with his May 2014 arrest, the Nassau district attorney's office said.
The victim, 35, had signed a statement saying she had a protection order against Ford when he bit her, choked her and slammed her head before she blacked out. But prosecutors said later in court papers that she then repeatedly refused to cooperate.StoryLawyer: Alleged assault victim forced to courtDataLI crime stats
The victim had been brought to court last week after prosecutors sought an order allowing police to take her into custody so a judge could decide whether to declare her a material witness.
That finding would have allowed that judge to set bail and potentially have the victim jailed so she was available for the trial. Instead, the victim agreed to come to the trial and the judge released her on her own recognizance.
Ford's attorney, William Shanahan of Mineola, said prosecutors were trying to coerce a victim who had signed an affidavit saying in part that she wanted the charges dropped and that her boyfriend needed help and not jail.
A prosecutor in a court file previously denied any coercion. Last week, prosecutors had said they would "use every tool at our disposal to keep victims safe," and pointed to a prior case of violence involving the same couple in which the victim didn't answer subpoenas.
Ford got a judge's commitment for a three-year prison sentence, with two years of post-release supervision, as part of the plea deal, a court spokesman said.
"Under the circumstances, the plea was fair and appropriate," Shanahan said Monday.
The victim's Garden City attorney, Paul Delle, said she was ready to testify when a deal was reached. He said she didn't cooperate at first because she felt "things were wrong" in her police statement, but prosecutors didn't listen. Delle said the woman had wanted Ford, father of her three children, to get counseling and not just go to prison.
Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement Monday Ford "brutally and senselessly attacked" the victim in the couple's home, adding: "We will do everything in our power to put abusers, like Scott Ford, in prison."