Assault trial defense questions mayor's use of funds

Saddle Rock mayor Dan Levy who accused Sasha Saddle Rock mayor Dan Levy who accused Sasha Masri of attacking him during a village board meeeting, appears in Nassau County Court in Mineola. (June 6, 2013) Photo Credit: Jim Staubitser

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The trial of a village critic accused of assaulting Saddle Rock Mayor Dan Levy continued Wednesday, with defense attorney Bob McDonald peppered Levy with questions about his alleged improprieties with village funds.

Earlier testimony in the bench trial of Sasha Masri, who faces a felony assault charge and three misdemeanors in connection with the Oct. 3, 2012, incident, indicated village auditors discovered Levy had been writing village checks to a third-party corporation, then cashing them himself.

McDonald shot questions at Levy relating to the audit and the checks which Levy, his attorney sitting by his side, answered by invoking his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.

At one point, Levy, who suffered a head laceration, broken arm and cracked shoulder in connection with the incident, argued that the financial questions had "nothing to do with the trial."

"I am the victim here," Levy said on the stand. "You keep pushing that stuff to make me the defendant."

After Levy left the stand, his attorney, Elizabeth Kase of Garden City, said in a statement that the line of questioning was an attempt to "deflect attention from Mr. Masri's criminal conduct."

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"My client has a distinguished record of public service, and any questions regarding village audits will be addressed at an appropriate time and venue," Kase said. "This trial is not the time nor place."

The trial, presided over by Acting Supreme Court Justice Philip Grella, is scheduled to continue Thursday in State Supreme Court in Mineola.

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