Probation for Sasha Masri in assault attempt on Saddle Rock mayor

Sasha Masri, who was convicted of a misdemeanor Sasha Masri, who was convicted of a misdemeanor for assaulting Saddle Rock Mayor Dan Levy after a board meeting last year, is sentenced at the Nassau County Courthouse in Mineola. (Aug 14, 2013) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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A man convicted of attempting to assault the Saddle Rock Village mayor in a wide-ranging trial that at times focused on allegations of financial misconduct by the mayor as much as the defendant's actions was sentenced Wednesday to a year of probation.

Sasha Masri, 33, faced up to 90 days in jail in addition to a year of probation after his conviction in June of third-degree attempted assault, a misdemeanor.

Masri stood trial before acting Supreme Court Justice Philip Grella on charges of attacking Saddle Rock Mayor Dan Levy after a village board meeting last year.

Masri contended that he slapped Levy after the mayor insulted the man's mother in an attempt to deflect attention from Masri's questions about Levy's handling of village finances.

Village trustee David Schwartz testified that an audit found that Levy had been writing village checks to a third-party corporation, then endorsing and cashing them himself.

After Masri and Levy began grappling, the mayor sustained a fractured shoulder and a head cut, according to court records and testimony.

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Masri, who had faced a felony and three misdemeanor charges, was found not guilty of all four charges, but was convicted of the lesser misdemeanor charge tacked on at the eleventh hour.

Assistant District Attorney Christine Geier argued Wednesday that Masri be sentenced to 10 days in jail and a stay-away order of protection in addition to probation.

The mayor "lives in constant fear of further acts of violence from the defendant," Geier said.

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Masri's attorney, Bob McDonald of Mineola, called Geier's stance "disingenuous," noting that the district attorney's office had earlier offered Masri a plea bargain with no jail time.

Grella also barred Masri from harassing Levy, an eye surgeon, but allowed him to continue attending village meetings. Masri also was ordered to pay a $500 fine, plus mandated surcharges.

Levy's attorney, Elizabeth Kase of Garden City, praised the sentence.

"We are pleased Judge Grella placed necessary supervision and control over Mr. Masri's conduct," she wrote. "Dr. Levy is protected should Masri attempt to become a further nuisance."

After court, Masri called the sentence "unfair" and "unjust," saying that he helped bring Levy's actions to light. A law-enforcement source said in June that the mayor's actions were under investigation.

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